Goldman Sachs beats forecasts despite revenue and profit slump

US banking giant Goldman Sachs has posted a drop in first-quarter profits and revenues as tough market conditions hit the firm’s two main divisions.

Net income dropped 21% across the group compared to the same period last year to 2.25 billion US dollars (£1.7 billion), although this was ahead of analyst expectations.

Earnings per share also finished ahead of forecasts, at 5.71 US dollars against the expected 4.89 US dollars, after cuts to operating expenses and compensation.

Staff were hit in the pocket by the drop as Goldman Sachs reduced pay by 20%.

The Wall Street bank saw net revenues slide 13% to 8.8 billion US dollars (£6.7 billion) in the quarter to the end of March, as it suffered declines across most of its key divisions.

The firm’s largest area, institutional client services, posted revenues of 3.6 billion US dollars (£2.7 billion), an 18% decline on the previous year.

Equities trading revenues fell 24% year-on-year to 1.77 billion US dollars (£1.35 billion). Meanwhile, investing and lending revenues declined 11% to 1.84 billion US dollars (£1.4 billion), driven by “significantly lower net gains” from stakes in private equities and debt holdings.

Chief executive David Solomon said: “We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter, especially in the context of a muted start to the year.

“Our core businesses generated solid results driven by our strong franchise positions. We are focused on new opportunities to grow and diversify our business mix and serve a broader range of clients globally.

“With improving momentum across our businesses, we are confident that Goldman Sachs will generate attractive returns for our shareholders.”

Last week, Wall Street competitor JP Morgan beat analyst forecasts as profits and revenues both rose 5%.