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Quick Hits: Goldman Scores PR Bonus, Forgoes Real One


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

Goldman Sachs (GS) is smart, especially when it comes to buffing up its image during the current slump.

Seven top executives, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein, are giving up their bonuses for 2008. It's a move that's sure to keep the press, members of Congress and other pests off their backs after participating in Uncle Sam's $700 billion bailout plan.

But don't except Joe Sixpack to shed any tears for Goldy's top dogs, because they'll still receive their base pay of about $600,000 each, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Last year, Goldman Sachs reported record profits of about $4 billion and Blankfein received a bonus of about $70 million.

Other companies appear to be taking a similar tack on bonuses this year. UBS (UBS) plans to put its bonus money in an escrow account. Citigroup (C) plans to cut bonuses after slashing 50,000 jobs worldwide.

The downside to disappearing bonuses: Manhattan's real estate market has taken a hit, the state of New York faces a budget crunch because tax receipts are down, and spending on luxury goods (and the resulting sales tax) is off.

American International Group
(AIG) might want to take some lessons in public relations from Goldman Sachs. AIG has shot itself in the foot several times for what might charitably be called unwise spending after receiving a Federal bailout.

Smart PR is just a stopgap measure. Goldman Sachs and others need breathe life into their stock prices. Goldy, for example, recently fetched $64.05 a share, down from a 52-week high of $234.22.

Profits, anyone?

For more on how the rich are feeling the pinch, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute report.

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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