Goldman beats forecasts to roar back to profit –and big bonuses

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The Independent Online

Goldman Sachs smashed Wall Street forecasts with its third-quarter figures yesterday.

Cost-cutting by the bank and revived appetite for risk from clients helped spur the money-making machine back to more normal levels of profitability.

The investment bank, which has more than 5,000 employees in its Fleet Street offices in London, increased the amount it paid its staff for the past three months by a quarter. That means on average Goldman's 32,600 staff collected pay and accrued bonuses worth $112,700 (£69,900), up from only $46,000 in the first quarter and $90,000 in the second.

Goldman would need a superlative final quarter if staff are too match the average $376,000 they received last year.

The bank made post-tax profits of $1.51bn compared with losses of $393m a year earlier. That translated into earnings per share of $2.85 – way ahead of analysts' consensus forecasts $2.20 a share. But Goldman implied that the results would have been even stronger but for a weak quarter in its commodities business - an area it once dominated on Wall Street.

The chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, above, said: "This quarter's performance was generally solid in the context of a still challenging economic environment."

Goldman lifted its quarterly dividend from 46 cents to 50 cents per share.

Cost-cutting saw expenses – other than salaries and bonuses – fall by 13 per cent on a year ago to $2.38bn.