Goldman reports huge profit in early earnings announcement

Goldman Sachs (GS), once Wall Street's largest and most profitable investment house and now the sixth-largest bank in the United States, posted first-quarter profit of $1.81 billion, or $3.39 a share, far exceeding most analysts' expectations.

The company will also sell $5 billion in stock and use the proceeds to help it repay $10 billion in capital it received from the government's bank bailout program.

Goldman said its fixed income, currency and commodities group was largely to thank for its better-than-forecast returns, contributing $6.6 billion of its $9.5 billion in revenue.

Goldman credited the group's results to a "particularly strong performance in interest rate products, commodities and credit products," though it didn't list specifics that could help explain the role of counterparty payments from AIG or changed accounting rules played in the results.

The unit doubled its revenue from the same period a year ago, while nearly all of Goldman's other units sagged. Revenue from investment banking, equities trading and asset management each fell between 20 and 30 percent, hurt by turbulent markets and slumping corporate deal making.

Nonetheless, Goldman blew away most estimates provided by analysts, who expected profit of $1.59 a share.
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