Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s fourth-quarter earnings slumped 58% as rocky capital markets pushed the investment bank to record its second-lowest quarterly revenue since the midst of the financial crisis.
Lackluster results from the investment banking powerhouse echo struggles seen across Wall Street, as Goldman and its peers remain hindered by weak demand for advisory and underwriting services and a tumultous environment for trading.
For the fourth quarter, investment banking revenue at the firm slid 43% from a year earlier to $857 million. On the trading front, fixed income, currency and commodity revenue--once a reliable profit-generator--fell 17% to $1.36 billion.
The industry's rocky performance over the last year has left many Street players girding for deep cuts in their bonus payments, which will begin to be awarded in the coming weeks. Goldman on Wednesday said its compensation and benefits expenses totaled $12.22 billion for 2011, an 21% decline from the prior year. The ratio of compensation and benefits to net revenues for 2011 was 42.4%.
Goldman posted a profit of $1.01 billion, down from a year-earlier profit of $2.39 billion. Earnings per share, which reflect the payment of preferred dividends, fell to $1.84 from $3.79 a year earlier. The latest results included a gain of $388 million from the firm's investment in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, among other items.
Net revenue tumbled 30% to $6.05 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of $1.24 on $6.55 billion in revenue.