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Goldman Sachs profit beats estimates, boosted by strong equities trading

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday as the Wall Street investment bank benefited from increased stock trading.

[NEW YORK] Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday as the Wall Street investment bank benefited from increased stock trading.

The bank said equities trading revenue increased by 6 per cent from a year ago to US$2 billion, the second highest in four years. Goldman also said it benefited from higher revenues in client execution including an improved performance in cash products and derivatives.

However, Goldman's fixed income business suffered another disappointing quarter with net revenue falling by 13 per cent. The bank said that reflected significantly lower net revenue from interest rate products and currencies.

Goldman is shifting the focus of its business model away from trading to a more stable, consumer-oriented revenue stream. Despite the better-than-expected performance, revenue still fell at three of its four major businesses, with the biggest declines in trading and investment management.

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Rising geopolitical uncertainties and the impact of future interest rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve present challenges to efforts by Goldman and its rivals to increase revenue.

Institutional client revenue, which includes trading, slipped 3 per cent, while investment banking revenue was down 9 per cent. However, revenue from the bank's investing and lending business rose 16 per cent, its highest quarterly performance in eight years.

Evercore ISI analyst Glenn Schorr said Goldman had delivered a "pretty good quarter" with most business lines performing "a little better than expected."

"Looking ahead, we expect management to continue to invest in new initiatives and businesses and return plenty of capital," Mr Schorr said.

Chief Executive David Solomon, who was promoted to the role in October last year, is undertaking a strategic review of the business and plans to announce the results early next year.

The bank has already made moves to further develop its consumer division, by expanding online bank Marcus and launching a credit card with Apple Inc. It also announced plans in May to acquire United Capital, a boutique wealth management firm. Solomon said on an analyst call discussing earnings that the United deal would close Tuesday.

Goldman is aiming to generate US$5 billion in new revenue by 2020.

While overall revenue slipped in the quarter, lower compensation expenses provided some relief. Total operating expenses were nearly flat at US$6.12 billion.

The bank's net earnings applicable to common shareholders in the second quarter fell 6 per cent to US$2.20 billion. Earnings per share fell to US$5.81 from US$5.98 a year earlier.

Total net revenue fell 2 per cent to US$9.46 billion.

REUTERS