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Thursday, September 09, 2010 12:45 PM


Goldman Marks Top in Municipal Bond Market?


History shows that whatever Goldman is peddling in a big way to cities, counties, or retail investors, be it interest rate swaps or derivatives, or advice, those investors would be better off not taking it.

With that in mind, please consider Goldman in Bond Deal

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is about to start selling municipal bonds directly to mom and pop.

The New York company plans to enter a partnership this week with Chicago securities firm Incapital LLC to sell bonds issued by U.S. states, cities and towns to individual investors, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The arrangement will make billions of dollars of municipal bonds underwritten by Goldman available for sale by at least 85,000 brokers in Incapital's distribution network of broker-dealer firms.

The move allows Goldman to branch out into a lucrative area of the fixed-income markets, a haven for retail investors scared off by volatility in the stock market and riskier corporate credit markets. While some municipalities are facing budget crises, it is rare for municipal bonds to default. Such securities yield more than certificates of deposit or other ultra-safe investments and are tax-free in most cases, making them a staple in retiree savings accounts.
Ultra-Safe?

Words like "ultra-safe" portend a hint of disaster. Remember when home prices could never go down? Now retail investors are plowing into municipal bonds and municipal bond funds as the next safe-haven.

Even if there is not a series of municipal bond disasters coming up, yields are so compressed, that investing in municipals makes little sense. The timing of Goldman Sachs into such offerings is icing on the "best to stay away" cake.

Look for Goldman to bet against the worst of the crap they intend to feed to retail investors.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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