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Goldman revenue and profit drop

January 19, 2011 |  7:30 am

Goldman Sachs Group saw its fourth-quarter revenue and profit drop sharply due to conditions that are causing a slowdown across Wall Street.

The firm, the most storied name on Wall Street, said Wednesday that it earned $2.39 billion, or $3.79 a share last quarter, down from $4.95 billion, or $8.20 a share in the same quarter of 2009. The 52% decline was only slightly more than what was expected by most analysts.

Revenue in the quarter fell to $8.64 billion, down 10% from $9.62 billion a year earlier.

For the year, profit was down 38% from 2009, to $8.35 billion, or $13.18 a share. Revenue was down 13% to $39.2 billion.

Last year, Goldman led the way in capitalizing on ideal trading conditions that helped a number of banks quickly bounce back from recession.

This year, revenues across the firm's investment banking operations were down, including the bank's trading operations and its work underwriting stock and bond offerings and advising companies on mergers and acquisitions.

"Market and economic conditions were difficult for much of 2010," the company's chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, said in a statement.

The two bright spots were the bank's work managing the assets of wealthy clients and the bank's own investments, which it did without clients. These so-called principal investments have come under scrutiny recently after Goldman put $450 million of its own money into Facebook.

The bank set aside slightly less in compensation for its employees than it did the previous year, amounting to $431,000 for each employee, down more than 13% from $498,000 in 2009.

Goldman shares were off $4.96, or 2.8%, to $169.72.

--Nathaniel Popper