Public relations disasters aside, the Vampire Squid apparently had a very good first few months of the year.
Goldman Sachs traders lost money on just one day during the first three months of 2012: the fewest days of trading losses in a year, according to a Goldman Sachs regulatory filing cited by Bloomberg News. During the last three months of 2011, in contrast, Goldman Sachs' traders lost money on 17 days.
Still, Goldman's near perfect quarter may seem a little bit less stellar after comparing it to that of its colleagues. Traders at Morgan Stanley lost money during four days of the first quarter of 2012, according to a separate Bloomberg News report. Bank of America's traders, on the other hand, made money during every day of the first quarter.
Even though Goldman had a good three months for its trading business, the firm didn't have a successful quarter by all measures -- particularly on the public relations front. Greg Smith, an executive director at Goldman Sachs, publicly resigned in March in an op-ed in The New York Times, say the firm had a "toxic and destructive" environment that sometimes profited at the expense of its clients.
The traders may have been buoyed not just by skill, but also by the stock market's general rise. The S&P 500 rose 12 percent with relative steadiness during the first quarter of 2012, according to Yahoo! Finance.
Traders at Goldman may not be so lucky this quarter. The stock market has been more volatile for several reasons: data signaling an economic slowdown in the U.S., Europe and China, the increasingly tumultuous eurozone crisis, and the Federal Reserve's statements that it does not plan to unleash another stimulus. The stock market also has been rising at a faster pace than the general economy: a potentially bad sign for stocks in the future.
As a result, the S&P 500 has plunged 3.8 percent so far this quarter, according to Yahoo! Finance. More recently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been on a six-day losing streak, according to Dow Jones Newswires.