UPDATE 1-Goldman Sachs beats Wall Street as bond trading falls less than expected

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Oct 17 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc beat Wall Street estimates, as bond trading fell less than expected, and investment banking and investing and lending helped buoy results.

The bank's profit declined 3 percent but its earnings per share handsomely beat analysts' estimates.

Net income applicable to common shareholders was $2.04 billion, or $5.02 per share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $2.10 billion, or $4.88 per share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $4.17 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

All eyes were on its bond trading unit, which reported a 26 percent revenue decline. Revenue from trading bonds, currencies and commodities (FICC) fell to $1.45 billion. http://bit.ly/2gfWdgC

The drop was in line with rivals Morgan Stanley, which reported a 20 percent fall, and JPMorgan Chase & Co's 27 percent decline.

The bank's core bond-trading unit has suffered three straight quarterly declines on low volatility and the bank has been looking for ways to shore up its FICC division.

Goldman has been trying to shift away from the bond-trading unit to more stable businesses like investment management and consumer lending, where it launched Marcus, an online platform in 2016.

Total revenue, including net interest income, rose 2 percent to $8.33 billion, helped by investment banking and lending business. Analysts expected revenue of $7.54 billion.

(Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)