Goldman Sachs: Even a $7.50B Fine Can’t Take Them Down

By Dmitriy Gurkovskiy, Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets

Last week, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) published its Q4 earnings report, in which the main financial indicators exceeded all analysts’ expectations.

The net profit amounted to $2.54B, well above expectations of $1.78B; the revenue reached $8.12B compared with a forecast of $7.5B; finally, the net interest income rose to $898M versus an expected $758M.

The chart shows that Goldman Sachs’ revenues always exceeded the forecast figures. In 2017, the forecasts were quite conservative, with the actual results not much different. In 2018 this bias was already smaller. Based on the data from the chart, one can conclude that 2018 was not the best year for the bank, with revenues falling as predicted, which led to a share price fall, too. Over 2018, the stock lost almost 45% of its value.

Early in the year, the stock was still near the historical highs; then, after the Q1 report release, the price went down, as the report showed worse figures than expected.

Now, the price is increasing sharply, bouncing off its lows. Investors tend to first pay attention to the expected figures, especially if the company has been operating in the market for a long time. In such situations, news has a short-term impact on the price, as this has may times stood the test of time. Goldman Sachs was no exception.

The news on the Malaysian scandal, which broke out in 2015, is still here to stay. The Malaysian authorities accuse bank representatives of bribing officials to get an order for bond placement in 2012-2013. The revenues from those bonds, i.e. $6.5B, were just taken away, without any hint on using them for the local investment. In response, Goldman Sachs pointed out that the bonds were placed for the purpose of raising money for Malaysia, but instead part of the funds was stolen by members of the Malaysian government. As it turned out, the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, was indeed found to have $681M in his accounts. This was a dead end, however, and indeed officials were very unlikely to punish themselves. Now, when Razak lost the election, the new government launched an anti-corruption investigation and Najib Razak was accused of money laundering, while Goldman Sachs was also charged.

In mid 2015, the stock actually declined, which lasted about a year. Overall, the fall was 37%, but then Goldman was out of the Malaysian scandal and media spoke about corruption in the Asian country. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, people knew very few things, as the media was tightly controlled by the government, and those who dared to report it were immediately closed. As such, The Insider, a Malaysian media, was closed after the very first publication of the article hinting on government corruption.

Therefore, linking the stock decline to the scandal does not work. However, if you follow the chart of the company’s revenues, you’ll understand what really happened.

The chart shows that the revenue forecast for the second quarter of 2015 was already declining, and when the Q2 real income was less than the previous one, both the stock and the prediction went down. Thus, the price directly responded to the decline in forecast indicators for revenues, and the news factor here had virtually no effect on the stock.

In 2016, the stock started recovering with the expectations also going higher. Therefore, the current growth in the value of the stock is directly related to the expectations of the growth of Goldman Sachs earnings in Q1 2019.

As for the possible fine, David Solomon, the Goldman Sachs CEO, decided to play it safe: the bank has already started accumulating money for it.

Technically, on W1 the stock is quite weak, being under 200-day moving average, but in spite of this, there’s still an uptrend, as the MA is going up.

When the stock fell down to its lows at $160, the volume increased drastically, which is one of the most evident signs of a reversal. This will be further confirmed once the 200-day MA gets broken out and the price stays above. But since the price went up sharply from its lows and increased for 4 weeks in a row, a small correction may happen as well.

The price may bounce off the 200-day MA and fall back to $190, after which the rise may resume.


Any predictions contained herein are based on the authors’ particular opinion. This analysis shall not be treated as trading advice. RoboMarkets shall not be held liable for the results of the trades arising from relying upon trading recommendations and reviews contained herein.

Having majored in both Social Psychology and Economics, I went on to continue my education in post graduate. Later I worked as a team lead of a tech and fundamental analysis lab in the Applied System Analysis Research Institute. This helped me to acquire all necessary skills and experience to become a successful trader and analyst, as well as a portfolio manager in an investment company. I'm a pro in the financial field and the author of articles for various international media. I also hold the position of Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets.