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Legal costs sink Goldman Sachs' quarterly earnings

NEW YORK--Investment bank Goldman Sachs Thursday reported a 20.6 percent decline in quarterly earnings, as elevated litigation expenses offset higher underwriting revenues from public offerings.

Fourth-quarter earnings came in at US$2.2 billion on revenues of US$8.8 billion, compared with earnings of US$2.8 billion on revenues of US$9.2 billion in the year-ago period. Those results translated into per-share earnings of US$4.60, well above analyst estimates for US$4.21.

“Our work in advancing our client franchise and in ensuring continued cost discipline has allowed us to provide solid returns even in a somewhat challenging environment,” said Goldman chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

“We believe that we are well positioned to generate solid returns as the economy continues to heal.”

Goldman Sachs profits were hit by a 6.2 percent increase in operating expenses, which included provisions for litigation and regulatory proceedings of US$561 million compared with US$260 million a year ago.

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