Goldman Sachs posts $1.9B loss due to new tax law
New York – Goldman Sachs posted a $1.93 billion loss in the fourth quarter as the investment bank had to record more than $4 billion in charges related to the new tax law. It was the bank’s first quarterly loss in more than six years.
Goldman lost $5.51 a share, compared with a profit of $2.35 billion, or $5.08 a share, in the same period a year earlier, the bank reported Wednesday. Excluding the one-time charges, the bank earned $5.68 a share, beating analysts’ estimates.
Like other banks, Goldman had to write down billions in assets impacted by the new tax law this quarter, resulting in the quarterly loss. It had $3.32 billion in charges related to foreign earnings now taxable under the law and $1.1 billion in charges for deferred tax assets it stockpiled after the financial crisis.
Firm-wide, revenue fell to $7.83 billion from $8.17 billion a year earlier.
Outside of the impact of the tax bill, Goldman’s results were hurt by a relatively weak performance on its trading desks, typically one of Goldman’s strongest businesses.
The segment inside Goldman that contains its trading operations had net revenue of $2.37 billion in the fourth quarter, down 34 percent from a year earlier. Fixed income, currencies and commodities trading net revenue fell 50 percent.
The firm’s advisory businesses made up for the weak performance in trading. Investment banking net revenues totaled $2.14 billion, up 44 percent from a year earlier.
The bank set aside less money per employee for compensation than it had in the past, likely due to the weak performance on its trading desks. Goldman Sachs’ pay structure relies heavily on giving annual bonuses to employees based on performance. So while compensation expenses in the full year rose to $11.85 billion, up 2 percent from a year earlier, Goldman said it had six percent more staff than it did a year ago.
Goldman Sachs’ stock fell 54 cents to $257.92 in early trading.