Goldman in the Crosshairs Again

| About: Goldman Sachs (GS)

By Angus Robertson

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) could be an interesting buy for investors with an appetite for risk after it fell this week to its lowest level in more than eight months. Rochdale Securities analyst Richard Bove downgraded the stock to Sell on fears the Department of Justice may bring a criminal lawsuit against the firm. Bove cut his target price from $163 to $120.

Standard & Poor’s Equity analyst Chris Maimone also cut his rating, to Hold from Buy. Like Bove, Maimone cited the risk of a lawsuit against the company for its role in promoting mortgage-backed securities, Barron’s reports.

“We think GS faces an increased risk of a material lawsuit by the Department of Justice for allegedly misleading clients by not disclosing its proprietary interest in certain CDO sales,” Maimone wrote. “We also view the uncertainty of certain Dodd-Frank mandates as a material headwind in the near term, particularly the clearing of over-the-counter derivatives and risk weighting of assets.”

Bove cited a new article by writer Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone magazine that says the Justice Department should criminally charge Goldman Sachs based on the subcommittee’s report. “The new Matt Taibbi article in Rolling Stone magazine is another all-out attack on the company,” Bove wrote. “However, this time the attack is backed by a 650-page report signed by both a Democrat and a Republican.”

But Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein who recommends that investors buy Goldman Sachs stock, told Bloomberg he doesn’t share Bove’s concerns about the political risk to Goldman Sachs.

“At this point, I’m not losing sleep over more theater from within the Beltway,” Hintz said in an e-mailed reply to questions. “GS remains the leading investment bank in the world.”

And Thomas Brown, chief executive officer at Second Curve Capital LLC and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor said the bank was being “unfairly singled out” for blame and that he would be a buyer of Goldman after one more down day.

Goldman closed down almost 1% at $141.46.