Trading Revenues Hamper Goldman Sachs Earnings — Again

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The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) reported second-quarter results before markets opened Tuesday morning that topped estimates. The investment bank reported diluted quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of $3.95 on revenue of $7.89 billion. In the same period a year ago, the bank reported EPS of $3.72 on revenue of $7.93 billion. Second-quarter results topped the consensus estimates for EPS of $3.39 on revenue of $7.52 billion.

Trading revenue slid 17% to $3.05 billion from $3.68 billion, while fixed-income revenues rose  by 42% to $1.57 billion. Net revenue in fixed income, currency and commodities client execution (bond trading) were $1.16 billion for the second quarter of 2017, 40% lower than the second quarter of 2016, because of lower net revenue in interest-rate products, commodities, credit products and currencies, partially offset by higher net revenue in mortgages.

Goldman noted that the group operated in a challenging environment of low volatility, low client activity, and “generally difficult” market making conditions.

Book value per common share rose by 6.1% year over year to $187.32.

In the bank’s investment management group, assets under supervision decreased by $33 billion from a year ago to $1.4 trillion. Long-term assets under supervision increased by $42 billion, including net market appreciation of $24 billion, primarily in equity and fixed-income assets, and net inflows of $17 billion, reflecting inflows in fixed income and equity assets. Liquidity products decreased by $9 billion.

Investment banking revenue declined 3% to $1.73 billion, primarily because of a 6% drop in completed mergers and acquisitions.

Year-over-year operating expenses fell 2% in the first quarter, to $5.38 billion. Compensation expenses decreased 3% to $3.23 billion and non-compensation expenses were little changed at $2.15 billion.

During the quarter, Goldman repurchased 6.6 million shares of its common stock at an average cost per share of $221.92, for a total cost of $1.47 billion.

Bank Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein said:

A mixed operating environment persisted into the second quarter as conditions continued to support underwriting and M&A, while constraining certain market-making activity. Against that backdrop, we produced revenue growth and improved profitability for the first half of 2017, reflecting both the diversity and strength of our global businesses.

The bank did not offer guidance in its press release, but the consensus estimates call for third-quarter EPS of $4.36 on revenue of $7.64 billion. The EPS estimate for the 2017 fiscal year is $18.53 on revenue of $31.09 billion.

Shares traded down about 1.4% in the premarket Tuesday morning at $226.00, having closed on Monday at $229.26. The current 52-week range is $155.37 to $255.15. The consensus 12-month price target was $240.92 before results were announced this morning.