Goldman Sachs Group today surged past Wall Street expectations for first-quarter profit, as the US investment bank capitalised on record levels of global dealmaking activity.

An unprecedented boom in private firms merging with listed shell companies to go public has helped the Wall Street giant earn handsome fees, while its global markets unit's performance was up 47% on the year.

The bank also benefited from favourable comparisons to last year when it set aside more funds to cover potential corporate loan losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and took markdowns to some assets.

Goldman Sachs said its net earnings applicable to common shareholders rose to $6.7 billion in the quarter ended March 31 from $1.12 billion in the same period a year ago.

Earnings per share rose to $18.60 from $3.11 a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $10.22 per share, according to the IBES estimate from Refinitiv.

In March, Goldman had said its losses from a fire sale of stocks triggered by a meltdown of New York investment fund Archegos were immaterial.

Its total revenue surged 102% to $17.7 billion in the quarter.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase & Co said its earnings jumped almost 400% in the first quarter, surging past estimates.