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Goldman Sachs posts earnings of $4.38 a share vs. $4.32 a share

Goldman Sachs topped quarterly results, but an unexpected bout of volatility hit revenue in its business that trades bonds, currencies and commodities.

Shares declined in premarket trading. (Click here to get the latest quotes.)

The banking giant posted earnings of $4.38 a share, on revenue of $7.69 billion. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $4.32 a share on $7.64 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

"We are pleased with our performance during a year characterized by mixed global economic and financial conditions," said Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs in a press release. "The depth of our global client franchise and our continued discipline on expenses and capital management produced a solid return for our shareholders. Looking ahead, we see evidence of a continued pick up in momentum for the global economy that will improve the opportunity set for 2015."

Marty Mosby, banking analyst at Vining Sparks, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday that the company's revenue numbers disappointed the market even though they beat estimates.

"Behind the scenes, the market thought [revenues] could be around $8 billion," he said. "What they ended up with is around $7.7 billion."

Goldman's earnings beat of 6 cents is the smallest for the bank since the third quarter of 2011.

"While they were being conservative on their estimates, the expectation was that they would come in better than what you saw," Mosby added.

Revenue in the bank's division that trades bonds, currencies and commodities—a traditional strength for Goldman—fell 29 percent to $1.22 billion. Investment banking revenue fell 16 percent to $1.44 billion.

Lloyd Blankfein joins Squawk Box on the first day at their new studio in New York City.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Lloyd Blankfein joins Squawk Box on the first day at their new studio in New York City.

Earlier this week, major U.S. banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan and Citigroup, posted disappointing quarterly results as market volatility weighed on trading revenue.

In late December, Goldman Sachs completed the sale of its metals warehouse network Metro International Trade, a sector it said was "not strategic" to its client activities. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The company also ranked first in mergers and acquisitions worldwide for 2014, the company said. "The firm advised on announced transactions valued at more than $1 trillion," the company said. "The firm also ranked first in worldwide equity and equity-related offerings and common stock offerings for the year."

--Reuters contributed to this report.