Dow Jones

NEW YORK - Goldman Sachs Group's third-quarter results beat First Call/Thomson Financial estimates of $1.51 a share.

Core earnings were $1.68 a share, up from a pro forma $1.38 a share a year earlier.

Overall revenue improvement contributed to those results, including investment banking revenue, which increased 15%, to $1.32 billion. As of Aug. 25 the backlog of investment banking transactions "remained strong," the firm said.

Increased merger and acquisition activity in the communications, media, entertainment, and high-technology sectors drove financial advisory revenue 9% above a year earlier.

Chief financial officer David Viniar said in a conference call that the firm plans to increase its head count by 20% annually in the next three to five years as it takes advantage of expanding markets worldwide.

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