No, no joke. If you don�t like the term securities, let me be clearer. Companies hold stock of other companies. Management is trying to get the best return on their cash they don�t need for operations, just as individuals are trying to get the best return on their savings. Some companies have investment divisions to do just that. During the 1990s it was a good move. But we�re talking about GSPN here. Did they or do they own stocks? I looked back at 1999 and under their �Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about market risk� and they believed their level of market risk to be immaterial.
As for today, they clearly spell out what they are invested in:
�The primary objective of our investment activities is to preserve principal while at the same time maximizing the income we receive from our investments without significantly increasing risk. Some of the securities that we may invest in may be subject to market risk. This means that a change in prevailing interest rates may cause the principal amount of the investment to fluctuate. For example, if we hold a security that was issued with a fixed interest rate at the then-prevailing rate and the prevailing interest rate later rises, the principal amount of our investment will probably decline. To minimize this risk in the future, we intend to maintain our portfolio of cash equivalents and short-term investments in a variety of securities, including commercial paper, money market funds, government and non-government debt securities and certificates of deposit. As of December 31, 2001, substantially all of our short-term investments were in money market funds, certificates of deposit, or high-quality commercial paper. Long term securities are primarily comprised of AA or better corporate bonds and U.S. Government backed securities.�
I bet they were invested in stock in the boom time. Look at the 10-k � the line item �Unrealized loss (gain) on marketable securities�. They made 22k in 1999 during the boom and they lost 88k in 2001 during the bust. The amounts are pretty small, so maybe it�s immaterial, but I bet they were speculating.