By Liz Hoffman
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported higher profit and revenue from a year ago, catching the wave of lower taxes and newly active markets that boosted other big banks' quarterly earnings.
Revenue at the Wall Street firm rose to $10.04 billion from $8.03 billion a year ago. Goldman's profit was $2.83 billion, or $6.95 a share, up from the year-ago first quarter when the bank's traders made bad bets on the dollar and interest rates.
Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $2.21 billion, or $5.58 a share, on revenue of $8.74 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
For all of Goldman's changes in recent years -- launching a consumer bank and embracing steadier businesses like asset management and corporate lending -- it still relies heavily on its traders, who make money selling everything from stocks to interest-rate swaps to big investors. They account for about one-third of the firm's revenue.
That business was expected to benefit this quarter as volatility returned to the markets. The dollar fell, and interest rates rose. Stocks swung around amid fears of a trade war and as the tumult at Facebook Inc. weighed on shares of technology companies.
But the trading seen early in the quarter, which was active but followed familiar patterns, devolved into more troublesome chaos for the banks in its later weeks.
Indeed, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. in recent days reported mixed trading results, doing better in equities but disappointing in areas like bond and credit trading.
Goldman's return on equity, a measure of how profitably it invests shareholders' money, was 15.4% for the quarter. Goldman has been pouring money into its new consumer bank and hiring senior executives in its investment-banking and technology divisions, which weighs on profitability.
Shares of Goldman Sachs, up 1.2% in 2018, slid 0.5% to $256.69 in premarket trading.
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