Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) may no longer be an investment-banking powerhouse as it was in the past, but the firm will be supported by a huge asset-management arm that expanded abroad before most of its rivals.
About a third of the New York-based firm's investment-management professionals and assets are located outside the U.S., helping the firm capitalize on stock-market gains during December. Apart from one U.S.-focused mutual fund that invests in REITs, The Goldman Sachs Real Estate Fund (GREIX), the majority of Goldman's top-performing funds contained holdings from overseas.
Goldman did particularly well in Asia, international small-cap and emerging markets.
Asian markets rallied through December, helping the Goldman Sachs Asian Equity Fund (GSAGX), which placed its main emphasis on the markets of Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and China.The Goldman Sachs International Small Cap Fund (GISAX) loaded up on Japanese, U.K. and German equities. The Goldman Sachs Structured Emerging Market Fund (GERAX) mirrored GSAGX. In December, broad indexes in the countries mentioned above rebounded, as did the Dow. Whether this can continue is an open question. There are two key questions for investors: (1) whether the news of any Obama stimulus plan really means that we are out of the woods, and (2) whether any forecast given by any organization or individual that suggests an economic rebound in 2009, is to be believed. There is no way I would put my money on either.