Goldman Sachs third-quarter results beat forecasts despite trading drop

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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NEW YORK (AP) — Goldman Sachs' third-quarter profits fell three per cent from a year earlier, as the trading desks at Wall Street's biggest investment bank were weighed down by a slow summer that also impacted most of its competition. The results still beat analysts' forecast, however.

The Wall Street bank said it earned a profit of US$2.04 billion, or US$5.02 a share, compared with a profit of US$2.10 billion, or US$4.88 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The firm's per-share profit rose because there are fewer Goldman shares outstanding compared with the same period a year ago. Analysts had been looking for Goldman to post a profit of US$4.17 a share, according to FactSet.

Goldman's trading desks, which are weighted toward bonds, currencies and commodities, struggled this quarter, as did those at its competitors JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America.

Net revenue in that business was US$1.45 billion, down 26 per cent from a year earlier. Markets have been abnormally quiet this year, which has hurt investment banks' trading profits since they benefit when markets are more active.

Despite the struggling trading operation, Goldman's investment banking business had an especially good quarter, reporting a 17 per cent rise in revenue. Revenue from underwriting and companies turning to Goldman's investment bankers for advice both increased during the quarter.

In a statement, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein called the firm's overall performance so far this year “solid”.

Company-wide revenue was US$8.33 billion in the quarter, compared with US$8.17 billion a year earlier. Analysts were looking for Goldman to have revenue of $7.53 billion.

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