Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street firm with the highest return on equity in 2013, reported earnings that topped analysts’ estimates as investment-banking revenue jumped to the highest level since the financial crisis.
CEO Lloyd Blankfein, 59, is facing a slump in fixed-income trading, which fell for the fourth time in the past five quarters, as he seeks to boost return on equity. A jump in mergers and initial public offerings in the quarter suggests investment banking may be picking up.
'The quarter was cautiously promising, in the sense that you’re seeing some good activity in underwriting, and mergers and acquisitions looks like it should be positioned for a good year, depending on what we see from CEO confidence', Kenneth Leon, an analyst who covers the financial industry for S&P Capital IQ, said before the results were announced.
Revenue declined 8% to $9.33bn. Compensation, the firm’s biggest expense, fell to $4.01bn, or 43% of revenue, the same ratio as a year earlier.
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