Displaying items by tag: Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs has a taken a lot of hits lately. After the Financial Crisis the bank decided to go against the direction of its rivals and keep its large trading and fixed income businesses robust. The logic was that the market cycle would return and Goldman would mint money as they would have the only major division intact. The short story is that it never happened, as FICC revenues have plummeted. Goldman still sticks to their mindset on trading, which has hurt the stock. The but the truth is that the business is much more diversified than ever before and profits are rising, hitting an almost 11% return on equity in 2017. “If they can do almost an 11% return on equity in a bad year, I’ll take that”, says a major fund manager.
FINSUM: The gloom over Goldman’s weakness in fixed income is helping create a good buying opportunity for what is a thriving bank.
Goldman Sachs is going on the record warning of “extreme” optimism in markets after stocks’ torrid start to the year. The bank says its cross-asset measure of risk appetite is the highest it has been since 1991 (!). The bank says the risk of losses is higher now, but that in their experience, signals from the macro economy tend to trump signals from risk appetite. Therefore, given that the world’s economy is moving nicely, the market may have more room to run. That said, Goldman is nervous about markets, saying “Risk appetite is now at its highest level on record, which leads to the question of what future returns can be”.
FINSUM: We think this grey-haired bull market still has some juice in it, but our big fear is how hard a recession might hit the markets (given high valuations), not just the economy.
Goldman Sachs has stuck to its guns with its trading division despite numerous changes to the industry and its competitors revamping. However, the bank finally appears to be changing its strategy. Since 2009, Goldman’s fixed income trading revenue has shrunk from over $23 bn in 2009, to just over $5 bn in 2017. Now the bank is changing its focus away from serving hedge fund clients, whom it has become overly reliant on, and towards big corporate clients, who offer a different sort of “flow” business based on interest swaps and other corporate needs.
FINSUM: We think it is smart for Goldman to diversify the focus on its fixed income unit. Especially since the $20bn plus revenue days don’t look like they are coming back.
Goldman Sachs just reported its first quarterly loss since 2011. The good news is that the loss does not mean the sky is falling in on investment banking or the markets. The loss was because of a huge $4.4 bn tax charge the company took in advance of the new tax regime for this year. Aside form the tax charge, Goldman’s business looked solid, with higher overall revenue and pre-tax margins in 2017. The one sore spot was bond trading, which produced only $1 bn of revenue.
FINSUM: The fall in bond trading revenue at GS has been prolific. In 2009 the firm created $23 bn of revenue in FICC trading. In 2017 revenues were just $5.3bn.
Banks are soon to be reporting their fourth quarter earnings, and Barron’s has put out an article advising investors on which stocks to buy ahead of the release. JPMorgan will report first and its numbers will have big implications for the sector. The piece cites analysts and says that Wells Fargo, Zion’s Bank, and Suntrust Bank look likely to do well, while investors should be underweight Goldman Sachs, CIT Group, and US Bancorp.
FINSUM: The tax package is going to be an interesting part of bank earnings both this earnings season and next, as some banks may do unusual tax maneuvers.