April 10 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Federal Reserve has told Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other banks to keep mum on the results of “stress tests” that will gauge their ability to weather the recession, people familiar with the matter said.

The Fed wants to ensure that the report cards don’t leak during earnings conference calls scheduled for this month. Such a scenario might push stock prices lower for banks perceived as weak and interfere with the government’s plan to release the results in an orderly fashion later this month.

Assuminng the stress tests were done, there now exists hard evidence of which banks are healthy and which are not.  There is no more cheap talk.  And once non-cheap talking begins, there is no option to remain silent:

“If you allow banks to talk about it, people are just going to assume that the ones that don’t comment about it failed,” said Paul Miller, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets in Arlington, Virginia.

All information would be revealed before the actual results are.  Instead, Treasury wants to control the revelation of information.  What could it have in mind?  Wouldn’t investors see through any scheme to manipulate expectations by picking the order in which information is revealed?  And isn’t pooling the original problem stress tests were supposed to solve?

Addendum: Calculated Risk infers that there must be some very bad news for the banks behind this.  I tend to agree.  One scenario is that the failing banks will be disposed of before revealing any results.