Goldman Sachs' 1st-quarter earnings beat forecasts on strong investment-banking and trading revenue

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  • Goldman Sachs reported first-quarter earnings on Wednesday that beat Wall Street's expectations for revenue and profit.
  • The bank shed $70 million from its loan-loss reserves through the quarter as COVID-19 vaccines begin to enable an economic reopening in the US.
  • Strong trading and investment banking revenue helped drive the beat in earnings estimates.
  • Watch Goldman Sachs trade live here.

Goldman Sachs reported earnings on Wednesday that exceeded analyst estimates for first-quarter revenue and profits.

Strong trading and investment banking income helped drive results for the bank, as did a decrease in the bank's lending reserves. Goldman shed $70 million from its loan-loss reserves through the first quarter of the year as COVID-19 vaccines begin to enable an economic reopening in the US.

Goldman shares jumped as much as 2% in Wednesday morning trades.

Here are the key numbers:

Revenue: $17.7 billion, versus the average analyst estimate of $12.6 billion
Earnings per share:
$18.60, versus the average analyst estimate of $10.22

"We have been working hard alongside our clients in preparation for a world beyond the pandemic and a more stable economic environment. Our businesses remain very well positioned to help our clients reposition for the recovery, and that strength is reflected in the record revenues and earnings achieved this quarter," Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said in a statement.

Goldman's equities revenue reached $3.7 billion in the three-month period, up 68% from the first quarter of 2020. The bank relies more heavily on its trading desks and deal advising business than other banks. Accordingly, the record highs reached in the stock market during the quarter was a positive for Goldman.

Fixed-income sales and trading brought in $3.9 billion for the bank, which was up 31% from the year-ago period. Investment banking revenue climbed to a record $3.8 billion as a boom in equity and debt offerings continued.

The first quarter results included the "immaterial" losses Goldman said it experienced after it unloaded its equity exposure to Bill Hwang's Archegos Capital, which wiped out $20 billion in value after extreme leverage forced a margin call it was unable to meet last month. Other banks like Credit Suisse and Nomura experienced billions of losses tied to the Archegos liquidation, and JPMorgan estimates that the total losses experienced by banks could be $10 billion.

Goldman closed at $327.28 on Tuesday, up 24% year-to-date. The bank has 10 "buy" ratings, 15 "hold" ratings, and two "sell" rating from analysts.

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