Even "Fabulous" Fabrice Tourre turned out to be a disappointment. One senator asked him how he felt about having Goldman release all his personal emails translated by Goldman and released to the public, and all he said was that he regretted the emails.
The senator then asked him if Goldman attorneys were defending him in his case against the Securities and Exchange Commission, and he said they were, which was about as close to satisfying as Tourre's testimony ever got.
There were many moments when the hearing seemed not to be about Goldman or any particular deal the firm put together, but about the entire crisis. It is rare to see successful mid-level bankers forced to defend their actions before Congress. We are more used to the bosses, but they give us an incomplete picture. Seeing the managing directors or, in Tourre's case, vice presidents, try to answer for their actions seemed at times like it might provide some insight. But more often than not, the questioners, despite all their preparation, were in over their heads, and the bankers found it too easy to slip away.
Despite the lack of a dramatic conclusion to the Goldman saga, many investors seemed to be betting the worst was over for the firm's share price. The stock closed higher on the day and was up in after-hours trading as the hearing wore on for several more hours.
But I'd expect Goldman shares to continue to face big selling pressure as the SEC case wears on, and, more importantly, as financial reform legislation continues to take shape in Congress.
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