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Matt Levine

Mortgage Math and Sympathetic Sales

Also private-company front-running, Robert Mercer, Bill Ackman, Tom Hayes, Bill Gurley and private-equity dividends.

Mortgage relief.

We talked on Friday about Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s consumer mortgage relief program, which is complicated by the fact that Goldman doesn't have a consumer mortgage business. But it owes the government $1.8 billion of consumer mortgage relief, and so it is buying up delinquent Fannie Mae loans at a discount and restructuring them with the dual aims of (1) providing consumer relief and (2) making the loans worth more than it paid for them. It is an odd way to penalize Goldman for its role in the mortgage crisis: If Goldman buys a loan at 60 cents on the dollar, it can forgive 30 cents of principal and still make a 10-cent profit.