Goldman shares drop 7% after earnings miss on surging expenses, equities trading slowdown

Earnings

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David M. Solomon, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, speaks during the Milken Institute’s 22nd annual Global Conference in Beverly Hills, April 29, 2019
Mike Blake | Reuters

Goldman Sachs on Tuesday posted fourth-quarter profit below analysts’ expectations as the bank’s operating expenses surged 23% on higher pay for Wall Street workers and increased litigation reserves.    

Here are the numbers:

  • Earnings: $10.81 a share vs. $11.76 estimate, according to Refinitiv
  • Revenue: $12.64 billion vs. $12.08 billion estimate.

The bank said quarterly profit dropped 13% to $3.94 billion, or $10.81 a share, below the $11.76 estimate of analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Shares of the bank dropped 3% in premarket trading.

Goldman Sachs has thrived during the past two years — a booming period in capital markets that suited the bank’s Wall Street-centric business model.

Now, how will CEO David Solomon’s bank navigate the next phase?

The question is timely because the red-hot trading markets of the past year are expected to cool down in 2022. Fixed income trading in particular is expected to decline in the fourth quarter.

That’s expected to be offset by robust investment banking revenue amid a high rate of mergers and SPAC deals. Analysts will be keen to ask Solomon how the transaction pipeline looks in early 2022.

While trading revenue is expected to normalize from a record period, retail banks have gained favor with investors lately. That’s because big bank peers like Wells Fargo and Bank of America are expected to prosper as interest rates rise.

Goldman’s nascent retail banking business is still a relatively small contributor to its bottom line, but analysts will want to know how management expects to capture emerging opportunities in fintech.

Besides its Marcus consumer banking division, with loans, savings and a personal finance app, that includes a new corporate cash management offering and Goldman’s foray into cloud computing for hedge fund clients.

Shares of Goldman have fallen less than 1% this month before Tuesday after jumping 45% last year.

Last week, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo all posted fourth-quarter results that topped estimates, but shares of JPMorgan and Citigroup sold off on higher-than-expected expenses. Bank of America and Morgan Stanley close out big bank earnings on Wednesday.  

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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