Goldman Sachs At Its Most Profitable In A Decade

Another round of third-quarter bank earnings landed yesterday, including Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC), but it was Goldman Sachs (GS) that stole the show. The firm’s $3.6bn profit for the quarter, from $10.8bn of revenue, was almost double the figure it reported for Q3 2019. Highlights included a 49% year-over-year revenue increase from the firm’s fixed-income division, where investors have spent years pushing for cuts according to the FT. The firm’s asset management division increased revenues by 71%, while its nascent consumer and wealth management division added 13% to its revenues to hit $1.5bn for the quarter. Chief executive David Solomon said that the firm plans to look at acquisitions to help accelerate the growth of the latter.

Conversely, it was a tough day for United Airlines (UAL), whose earnings report revealed a $1.8bn loss in Q3 with the firm burning through $25m a day in cash on average. The loss was marginally wider than anticipated, and compares to the $1bn profit the firm made in Q3 2019, pre-pandemic. Investors had clearly been bracing for worse, after an initial stumble the firm’s share price climbed following the earnings update.

Meanwhile the FTSE 100 has opened 2% lower this morning as continued uncertainty over Brexit weighs on UK shares. EU leaders are to meet today to seek concessions from the UK on a number of different issues with neither side seemingly wanting to budge at the moment.

Pressure on Wells Fargo continues

The major US stock indices all fell back yesterday, with Wells Fargo and Bank of America the biggest losers in the S&P 500 after their quarterly earnings reports. Wells Fargo, which closed the day 6% down — and is now 57% down year-to-date — after low interest rates put pressure on its net interest income (the difference between the rate banks offer on customer deposits versus loans). On the firm’s earnings call, chief executive Charles Scharf reiterated his plan to enact massive cost cuts, which are expected to lead to huge job losses. He told analysts that there is a “gigantic amount of redundancy” in the business.

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