Why Goldman Sachs Earnings Disappointed Investors

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) reported first-quarter 2017 results before markets opened on Tuesday. The investment bank reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $5.15 on revenue of $8.03 billion. In the same period a year ago, the bank reported EPS of $2.68 on revenue of $8.17 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $5.31 on revenue of $8.45 billion.

To take some of the sting out of the missed estimates, Goldman raised its quarterly dividend from $0.65 per share to $0.75. The new rate will be paid on June 29 to shareholders of record as of June 1.

Trading revenues fell 6% from $1.78 billion to $1.67 billion while fixed-income revenues were essentially flat at $1.46 billion.

In the bank’s investment management group, assets under supervision decreased by $6 billion from a year ago to $1.37 trillion. Long-term assets under supervision increased by $29 billion, including net market appreciation of $24 billion, primarily in equity and fixed income assets, and net inflows of $5 billion, reflecting inflows in fixed income assets. Liquidity products decreased by $35 billion.

Investment banking revenues rose 12% to $1.7 billion, primarily due to “significantly” more equity and debt underwriting than in the year-ago quarter.

Year over year, operating expenses rose 15% in the first quarter to $5.49 billion. Compensation expenses rose 24% to $3.29 billion, and noncompensation expenses rose 5% to $2.2 billion.

Book value per common share increased by 1.4% during the year to $184.98. Basic shares decreased by 6.2% over the past 12 months to 412.5 million.

The impact of the restricted stock unit deliveries and option exercises in the first quarter of 2017 was a reduction to provision for taxes of $475 million, which increased diluted earnings per common share by $1.13 and annualized return on equity by 2.5 percentage points.

During the quarter, Goldman repurchased 6.2 million shares of its common stock at an average cost per share of $243.22, for a total cost of $1.5 billion. The bank’s board of directors authorized an additional repurchase of 50 million shares.

Bank CEO Lloyd Blankfein said:

The operating environment was mixed, with client activity challenged in certain market-making businesses and a more attractive backdrop for underwriting in our investment banking franchise. As the economy improves, we are well-positioned to not only meet our clients’ diverse needs, but also to generate operating leverage for our shareholders.

The bank did not offer guidance in its press release, but the consensus estimates call for second-quarter EPS of $3.98 on revenues of $8.24 billion. The EPS estimate for the 2017 fiscal year is $19.59 on revenues of $32.81 billion.

Shares traded down about 3.4% in the premarket Tuesday to $218.62, having closed on Monday at $226.26. The current 52-week range is $138.20 to $255.15. The consensus 12-month price target was $253.33 before results were announced.