Can I get paid $772,858 to be so wrong?
This morning, David Kostin, the chief U.S. investment strategist at Goldman Sachs, raised his year-end price target for the S&P 500 from 940 to 1,060.
The swell folks over at the Bespoke Investment Group (http://bespokeinvest.typepad.com/bespoke/2009/07/goldman-sachs-raises-year-end-sp-500-price-target.html) took a look at how accurate Goldman has been with its market calls over the past year-and-a-half:
"At the start of 2008, Goldman's Abby Cohen (who was replaced with Kostin in March of last year) predicted the S&P 500 would finish 2008 up 15.74% at 1,675. By the end of 2008, that price target was 85.44% above the actual year-end S&P 500 price level. When Kostin replaced Cohen in March of '08, he lowered Goldman's 2008 price target from 1,675 to 1,380, which at the time would have meant a change of 4.33%. That target ended up being 52.78% above the index's actual year-end level. On July 21, 2008, Kostin actually raised Goldman's year-end 2008 target from 1,380 to 1,400, but then the market crashed in September and early October, and Kostin was forced to lower the target all the way to 1,000. From the time Kostin upped his '08 target from 1,380 to 1,400 to the time he lowered the target from 1,400 to 1,000, the S&P 500 fell 28%."
By now, you've heard that Goldman Sachs has set aside $11.4 billion for first-half compensation, which amounts to an average $386,429 per employee for six months' work, or annualized compensation of $772,858 for every Goldman, Goldwoman, and Goldchild. And I suspect that someone with the title of "chief investment strategist," like Kostin, makes a bit more than average.
Getting paid approximately a million dollars a year to make inaccurate predictions about the S&P 500. Nice work if you can get it.