Goldman Sachs Group has beaten quarterly profit estimates as the bank earned more from advising on M&A deals and expenses fell due to lower compensation costs.
The bank’s total revenue, however, fell 13% in the first quarter and missed analysts’ estimates, with three of its four main businesses recording a drop in revenue.
Total institutional client services, the unit that houses the bank’s trading business, recorded the biggest drop as lower market volatility coupled with the longest US government shutdown hurt equity and bond trading revenue.
Trading slowed considerably in the quarter as concerns over the US-China trade war eased, and markets rebounded from steep losses in December 2018.
Trading revenue slipped 18% to $3.61 billion, with equity trading down 24% and fixed income, currency and commodities trading down 11%.
JPMorgan Chase & Co on Friday reported a 10% decline in adjusted markets revenue. Its equities revenue, on an adjusted basis fell 13%, while fixed income revenue fell 8%.
"We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter, especially in the context of a muted start to the year," Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer David Solomon said.
Investment banking was flat, hurt mainly by declines in the underwriting business, which includes initial public offerings.
A prolonged government shutdown at the beginning of the year resulted in skeletal staffing at the US Securities and Exchange commission, resulting in the postponement of several IPOs in the quarter.
Financial advisory revenue was the only bright spot, rising 51% during the quarter.
Goldman's net earnings attributable to common shareholders fell to $2.18 billion, or $5.71 per share, in the quarter ended 31 March, from $2.74 billion, or $6.95 per share, a year ago.
Analysts were looking for a profit of $4.89 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Total operating expenses fell 11% to $5.86 billion.