Goldman Sachs’ earnings fall 11 per cent as bond trading slumps; bank still beats expectations

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – Goldman Sachs’ earnings fell in the first quarter as bond trading slumped, but the results still came in ahead of what investors expected as other parts of the bank performed well.

EARNINGS AND REVENUE: The bank earned $1.95 billion in the quarter, down 11 per cent from $2.19 billion in the same period a year earlier. The earnings were equivalent to $4.02 a share, compared with $4.29 in the first quarter of 2013.

Revenue totalled $9.33 billion, down 8 per cent from $10.09 billion a year earlier.

EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDED: Goldman’s earnings easily beat the $3.49 a share that analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted. First-quarter revenue also beat analysts’ expectations of $8.7 billion. Goldman’s stock rose 22 cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $157.44.

BOND TRADING SLUMP: Revenue from the bank’s bond trading business fell 11 per cent to $2.85 billion. Goldman, like other big Wall Street banks including JPMorgan and Citigroup, has seen bonding trading slump in the first quarter. The business is “operating in a challenging environment and levels of activity generally remained low,” Goldman said in its earnings release.

THE BRIGHT SPOT: Revenue at Goldman’s investment banking unit rose, driven partly by higher client activity in its financial advisory business in Europe and more stock underwriting. The bank’s investment banking revenue rose 13 per cent to $1.78 billion in the first quarter.

COMPENSATION EXPENSE: Compensation expense, the banks biggest single cost, was $4.01 billion, down 8 per cent from $4.34 billion a year earlier.

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