The stock market surged during the first three months of 2019. But that wasn’t enough to boost profits — or company bonuses — at Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs reported Monday that its net income fell 20% during the first quarter compared with a year ago.
Chairman and CEO David Solomon said in a statement that he was pleased with the performance despite what he called a “muted start to the year.”
Although earnings topped Wall Street’s forecasts, revenue fell 13% to $8.8 billion and missed analysts’ consensus estimates of $9 billion.
Goldman Sachs posted a steep decline in revenue from underwriting initial public offerings as well as a slide in revenue from stock trading and investment management fees.
During a conference call with analysts Monday morning, Solomon said that the federal government shutdown at the start of the year was a big reason for the slowdown in the IPO market.
Solomon added that the big rebound for the stock market in the first quarter led to lower volatility, which hurt trading revenue. And he also noted that “ongoing geopolitical risk” — most notably concerns about US-China trade talks and Brexit negotiations — kept some investors on the sidelines.
But things should heat up now that Lyft has debuted and Uber is set to follow. Goldman Sachs was an underwriter for Lyft and is helping to take Uber public as well.
Solomon also said that big institutional clients “appeared less cautious” in March. That bodes well for the rest of the year’s profits and revenue.
Big drop in the bonus pool
Still, the investment bank also said that its compensation and expenses — often referred to as its bonus pool — were 20% lower than a year ago. Goldman Sachs set aside $3.26 billion during the quarter, which works out to an average of $90,780 for its 35,900 employees.
The stock fell more than 2% Monday morning following the earnings. Still, Goldman Sachs shares are off to a hot start in 2019 — despite the drop in revenue and profits. The stock has surged nearly 25%, which makes it one of the best performers in the Dow.
Goldman Sachs has also outperformed rivals JPMorgan Chase, which reported solid results on Friday, as well as competitors Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, which are due to report results later this week.
Citigroup shares are up nearly 30%. That bank reported a profit that beat estimates.