Goldman Sachs ( GS) is back to what it does best: Making money in mysterious ways.

Goldman turned in a huge first quarter Tuesday, more than doubling analyst expectations.

It is very hard to know exactly how Goldman did so well. By far the largest contributor to earnings was the fixed income currency and commodity division, which encompasses so many products that the results could be due to just about anything.

During the company's conference call Tuesday morning, Goldman CFO David Viniar said those profits came from trading highly liquid products. In other words, it was not taking much risk, or working especially hard to match up hard-to-find or hard-to-convince buyers and sellers.

Also, Viniar said the earnings were broadly distributed throughout the division.

Okay -- so how did Goldman make so much money?

Either Viniar is fibbing -- which is quite possible -- or, as he said, the reduced competition due to weakened competitors like Citigroup ( C), or the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Merrill Lynch to Bank of America ( BAC) and Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy, have allowed Goldman to pick up market share.

If reduced competition is really such a big factor, then Morgan Stanley ( MS) should also hit the ball out of the park when it reports earnings next week.

Analysts don't expect that, however. The consensus estimate of 15 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expects a loss of 10 cents a share.

Goldman is the only large financial services company that has successfully figured out how to recruit, care for and feed thousands of super-hard-working, super-hard-performing people and convince them that they are part of something special, something larger than themselves, and, of course, something that will make them plenty of money.

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