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Goldman Sachs posts earnings and sales beat, but trading falls 50%

Jeff Cox
Getty Images. Goldman Sachs reported fourth-quarter earnings of $5.68 a share that topped Wall Street estimates, but shares edged lower in premarket trading.

Goldman Sachs reported fourth-quarter earnings of $5.68 a share that topped Wall Street estimates, but shares edged lower in premarket trading.

The investment bank titan also beat on revenue, reporting $7.83 billion against estimates of $7.61 billion.

However, trading revenues in the critical fixed income, currencies and commodities space plunged, falling 50 percent from the same period a year ago.

In a news release, Goldman characterized trading as "a challenging environment characterized by low levels of volatility and low client activity." Equities revenue also fell by 14 percent.

"Last year, we delivered higher revenue and stronger pre-tax margins despite a challenging environment for our market-making businesses," Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

"With the global economy poised to accelerate, new U.S. tax legislation providing tailwinds and a leading franchise across our businesses, we are well positioned to serve our clients and make significant progress on the growth plan we outlined in September," he added.

Like its peers on Wall Street, Goldman had to take a paper writedown of $4.4 billion due to the tax reform legislation Congress passed in December. Including the tax hit, the firm suffered a loss of $5.51 a share.

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