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Goldman shares may remain under pressure as analysts slash earnings estimates in coming days

  • "No sense in sugarcoating it" — Nomura Instinet.
  • "Hard to put lipstick on these results" — UBS.
  • "Another slow start to the year for Goldman Sachs" — JMP Securities.
Traders work at the Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Traders work at the Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Several analysts took Goldman Sach's rare earnings miss Tuesday as a sign of more challenges to come for the premier Wall Street firm.

"No sense in sugarcoating it," Steven Chubak of Nomura Instinet, said in a note.

"While shares have lagged the peer group by a healthy margin YTD ... these results will not alleviate such pressures," he said, adding that high expectations for next year's earnings could mean "meaningful cuts."

Nomura Instinet has a neutral rating on the stock.

Goldman shares dropped more than 5 percent Tuesday to trade at their lowest since the end of November and are down 10 percent for the year so far. The financials sector is about 1 percent lower year to date.

Goldman Sachs said its net revenues from bond, currency and commodities trading was little changed in the first quarter from the same period last year. Equities trading fell 6 percent year over year.

That contrasts with earnings beats and increases in trading revenue from major banks that have reported so far: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Morgan Stanley is scheduled to post results Wednesday before the open.

Since the financial crisis, only during a rough patch of two quarters in 2011 did Goldman miss earnings estimates while JPMorgan beat, according to Paul Hickey of Bespoke Investment Group.

"Another slow start to the year for Goldman Sachs," Devin Ryan, managing director at JMP Securities, said in a report.

"The bar only increases as the year progresses given the improving revenue backdrop
throughout 2016, which was more of an aberration than the norm," he said in the note. "While we believe expectations were generally muted into results, we suspect shares could experience a
bit of pressure in the near term"

JMP has a market perform rating on the stock.

Eric Wasserstrom, analyst at Guggenheim, agreed.

"Our key conclusion is that, while flexibility around compensation levels may enable GS to improve its operating performance as 2017 progresses, the weak 1Q17 revenue trends suggest downside risk to the 2017 consensus EPS forecast of $19.21 potentially to levels closer to our estimate (Guggenheim $18.50)."

Goldman Sachs reported first-quarter earnings per share of $5.15 a share, missing a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate by 16 cents. Revenue came in short by about $420 million at $8.026 billion.

The last time Goldman reported a miss on earnings per share was the fourth quarter of 2015.

It's "hard to put lipstick on these results," Brennan Hawken, senior equity research analyst at UBS Investment Bank, said at the top of his note on Goldman's earnings. "Trading revenue trends were substantially below peers reported thus far, which is likely due to GS's relatively smaller corporate client base."

Still, "Goldman continues to run a premium franchise and we expect the firm to take market share as the revenue environment improves," Hawken said. UBS has a buy rating on the stock with a price target of $285 a share, slightly more than 25 percent above where Goldman closed Monday.

— With reporting by CNBC's Michael Bloom and John Melloy.