Goldman shares take hit after bank says tax break will be less than hoped

Key Points
  • Goldman Sachs says its effective tax rate for 2018 will be 24 percent, well above the 17 percent or so anticipated on Wall Street.
  • The revelation comes the same day as a mixed-bag earnings report, with the combination of news sending shares down about 3 percent.
RBC's Gerard Cassidy: Goldman Sachs' earnings a tale of two cities

Goldman Sachs won't be getting as big of a break from tax reform as it had anticipated, delivering another blow to its shareholders.

In its fourth-quarter earning call Wednesday, the bank said its 2018 tax rate after deductions will come to 24 percent. That's well above the 17 percent or so anticipated by Wall Street analysts though less than the 28.2 percent in 2016. The 2017 effective tax rate number was muddled because of the tax dynamics at work but was believed to be around 25 percent.

Shares were down 3.2 percent Wednesday morning.

However, Marty Chavez, Goldman's chief financial officer, said tax reform still represents a "material long-term positive for shareholders."

Congress passed the tax reform bill in December that lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and levied a one-time charge to overseas cash that would go away and allow companies to repatriate future profits without penalty.

Chavez said tax reform has provided "significant clarity for corporations" and has caused "dialogue" with clients to increase "across a range of strategic and financial issues."

The news comes the same day that Goldman reported profit and revenue that beat analyst expectations. However, the results disappointed because the firm reported its fixed income, currencies and commodities revenue tumbled 50 percent.

"Needless to say we are highly engaged in improving our performance in FICC through strategic initiatives," Chavez said. "Client feedback has been positive."