If there is anything the recent reports from money center banks showed, it was the the February volatility surge was a gift to bank equity trading desks, which is why Wall Street was eagerly anticipating this morning’s Goldman Sachs results to see how much the “cleanest” trading desk on Wall Street would benefit from the turmoil in Q1.
It was not disappointed, because moments ago Lloyd Blankfein, in one of his last quarters as Goldman CEO, reported results that blew expectations out of the water.
Goldman reported EPS of $6.95, far above the $5.58 consensus estimate, which however was largely driven by the plunge in the company’s tax rate. This is what Goldman said on the matter:
The effective income tax rate for the first quarter of 2018 was 17.2%, down from the full year rate of 61.5% for 2017, as 2017 included the estimated impact of Tax Legislation, which increased the firm’s effective income tax rate by 39.5 percentage points.
So to avoid the noise from the swing in the tax rate, we looked simply at the top line and it was here that Goldman truly shone, reporting total Q1 revenue of $10.04BN, smashing expectations of $8.74BN and above the highest Wall Street estiamte, mostly thanks to equity trading and its prop desk. Here are the standouts:
Here is how Goldman commented on its institutional client services revenue:
Net revenues in Institutional Client Services were $4.39 billion for the first quarter of 2018, 31% higher than the first quarter of 2017 and 85% higher than the fourth quarter of 2017.
Net revenues in Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Client Execution were $2.07 billion, 23% higher than the first quarter of 2017, due to significantly higher net revenues in currencies, commodities and credit products, partially offset by lower net revenues in interest rate products and mortgages. During the quarter, Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Client Execution operated in an environment characterized by improved market-making conditions and higher client activity compared with the fourth quarter of 2017.
Net revenues in Equities were $2.31 billion, 38% higher than the first quarter of 2017, primarily due to significantly higher net revenues in equities client execution, reflecting significantly higher results in both derivatives and cash products. In addition, commissions and fees were higher, reflecting higher market volumes, and net revenues in securities services were higher, reflecting higher average customer balances. During the quarter, Equities operated in an environment characterized by periods of high volatility and an increase in client activity compared with the fourth quarter of 2017