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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: May 17

Stocks in this article: SPPI SNE DELL WMT

1. Bloomberg's Boner

Wall Street traders rose up in anger this week after discovering that their trust was violated and their private conversations monitored for the illicit gains of others.

Now ain't that a switch.

Yes, as you probably discerned, we're talking about the Bloomberg scandal in which the news service was busted for tracking traders movements. And while it undoubtedly won't prove terminal for the terminal-purveyor -- where else will traders go for the latest Las Vegas sports gambling lines? -- it will cause them a few headaches and a lot of mea culpas, at least until the Street clears out to the Hamptons for Memorial Day weekend.

Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler kicked off his apology parade on Monday with a column saying, "Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable."


Excuse us, Matt, but where's the "Grovel" key on the machine? When we type "GRVL" into our terminal it keeps telling us that the function does not exist?

Winkler's confession also wasn't heard clearly enough across the pond. The Bank of England called Bloomberg's actions "reprehensible" and said it would be "liaising with other central banks on this matter."

Or, in other words, the Federal Reserve, Treasury, IRS and a few other U.S. government departments will probably have to take some time off from spying on the AP and the Tea Party to chat with the Brits about the perils of being spied on.

Come to think of it, they may also want to check in with the investment bank that brought this whole snooping story to light through the New York Post, Goldman Sachs (GS). Goldman is a major user of Bloomberg's service, about $20k per terminal, and any disruption in their business would be a major blow to the non-public company's bottom line.

Goldman would also be a great source to tap because they know better than anybody how confidential information flows.

Straight from their investment bankers to their trading desks of course!

Or is it from their board members to Raj Rajaratnam? Or is it from their bond salesmen to John Paulson?

Sorry, it's hard to remember all Goldman's privacy lapses in a single sitting. Now excuse us while we hit the Bloomberg machine for the updated odds on the NBA playoffs.

-- Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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