Goldman's shares fell 2.5 percent to $158.23 in pre-market trading despite the stronger-than-expected earnings and an increase in quarterly dividend to 55 cents per share from 50.
"The third quarter's results reflected a period of slow client activity," Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said in a statement.
Fixed-income trading was muted for several weeks leading up to the Federal Reserve's meeting in mid-September amid speculation that the central bank was about to start winding down its bond-buying stimulus program.
Goldman was not the only Wall Street bank to be stung by weak fixed-income trading. However, it is more reliant on trading income than its bigger rivals, which have significant consumer banking operations.
JPMorgan Chase trading revenue fell 8 percent in the latest quarter, while Citigroup's dropped 26 percent and Bank of America's sank about 20 percent.
(Read more: BofA profit lifted by better credit; deposits soar)
Revenue from Goldman's own investments also fell. Revenue from loans and principal investments slid 18 percent to $1.48 billion.
Equity trading revenue dropped 18 percent to $1.62 billion, while investment banking advisory revenue slid 17 percent to $423 million.
However, underwriting revenue rose 13 percent $743 million.
Goldman Sachs shares traded lower immediately following the report. (Click here to track the company's shares in pre-market trade.)
"The third quarter's results reflected a period of slow client activity," Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "As longer-term U.S. budget issues are resolved, we could see an improvement in corporate and investor sentiment that would help lay the basis for a more sustained recovery."