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Goldman Sachs profit soars on post-election surge in trading

 | January 18, 2017

While Goldman typically relies more on trading than its competitors, the bank has been trying to shift its model over the last few years to rely less on the business and more on stable markets such as investment management.

goldman-sachsNEW YORK: Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported a nearly four-fold rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday as it benefited, like other big banks, from a surge in trading following Donald Trump’s surprise win in November’s presidential election.

Goldman’s net income attributable to common shareholders soared to US$2.15 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from US$574 million a year earlier, when the Wall Street bank was hit with a US$5 billion legal settlement.

Earnings per share jumped to US$5.08 from $1.27.

On an adjusted basis, the bank earned US$5.08 per share, handily beating the average analysts’ estimate of US$4.82, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Goldman’s revenue from trading fixed-income securities, currencies and commodities shot up 78.3 percent to US$2.00 billion.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman’s closest rival, reported on Tuesday that its revenue from fixed-income trading jumped about 173 percent in the latest quarter.

While Goldman typically relies more on trading than its competitors, the bank has been trying to shift its model over the last few years to rely less on the business and more on stable markets such as investment management.

The bank has also made a push into consumer lending, launching an online platform called Marcus late last year.

Goldman’s total net revenue jumped 12.3 percent to US$8.17 billion, beating the average estimate of US$7.72 billion.

“After a challenging first half, the firm performed well for the remainder of the year as the operating environment improved,” Chief Executive and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein said in a statement.

Goldman’s shares were up slightly in premarket trading, having risen about 30 percent since the election.

Bank stocks soared in the aftermath of Trump’s win as investors took he view that his policies would lead to a stronger US economy and less-stringent banking regulation.

Goldman, which said in 2016 that it had launched a program to cut US$700 million in annual costs, said its operating expenses dropped 23 percent to US$4.77 billion in the latest quarter.

Full-year expenses fell 18.9 percent to US$20.30 billion, the lowest since 2008, the bank said.

Annualized return-on-equity – a measure that shows how well a bank uses shareholder money to generate profit – was 11.4 percent in the quarter, above the 10 percent that analysts tend to think is needed to cover a bank’s cost of capital.

Investment banking revenue, which includes income from advising on mergers and acquisitions as well as underwriting bond and share offerings, fell 3.9 percent to US$1.49 billion.

The bank maintained its position as the world’s No.1 M&A adviser in 2016 with a 35.9 percent market share of completed deals, according to Thomson Reuters data, ahead of Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Revenue from investment management rose 3.4 percent to US$1.61 billion.


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