Goldman Sachs: Earnings Bad News for Doomsayers

Todd Sullivan profile picture
Todd Sullivan

So, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) announced results yesterday and it was bad news for the doomsayers.

The Results: (Click here for conference call transcripts.)

GS reported net income of $1.51 billion, or $3.23 a share, for the quarter ended Feb. 29, compared to $3.2 billion, or $6.67 a share last year. Revenue decreased 35% to $8.34 billion. Analysts estimates were for earnings of $2.58 a share on revenue of $7.47 billion.

Other numbers:

  • Return on equity was 17%;
  • Trading and principal investments segment saw revenue decrease 46% because of credit and investment losses.
  • Investment banking revenue dropped 32% because of a decline in debt underwriting;
  • Asset management unit recorded a 23% increase on higher fees.

Not great, but, better than expected. When you combine these results with those at Lehman (LEH), they make the Bear Stearns (BSC) situation look more like a management issue rather than a systemic event.

This is not to say that things are going to turn on a dime and begin to rise. It is also not to say there may be other, smaller institutions suffering (Ambac (ABK) ,MBIA (MBI)) and possibly folding. It is to say that a widespread banking run will not happen, and because of that, the system will remain intact. Because of that, we now know there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

Now, where is the light? I think is is closer than it currently looks. Let's not forget, the losses the banks are seeing are unrealized for the most part. This means they are writing down the value of a security because of an assumed market value of it, not because of a tangible deterioration of the assets performance. That is a huge point.

It means that when we can now value these instruments higher, earnings jump, fast.

This article was written by

Todd Sullivan profile picture
Todd Sullivan is a Massachusetts-based value investor and Co-Founder and General Partner in Rand Strategic Partners. He looks for investments he believes are selling for a discount to their intrinsic value given their current situation and future prospects. He holds them until that value is realized or the fundamentals change in a way that no longer supports his original thesis. His blog features his various ideas and general commentary and he updates readers on their progress in a timely fashion. His commentary has been seen in the online versions of the Wall St. Journal, New York Times, CNN Money, Business Week, Crain's NY and others. He has also appeared on Fox Business News and is a contributor. He has twice presented at Bill Ackman's Harbor investment Conference and is a regular presenter at the Manual of Ideas "Best Ideas" conferences. Visit his sites: ValuePlays ( , Rand Strategic Partners (

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