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First, the good news. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s first-quarter earnings beat analysts’ expectations – comfortably. Total net revenues were up 1 per cent year on year at about $10-billion (U.S.), but ahead of predictions for $9.7-billion, while earnings per share rose 9 per cent to $4.29 versus an anticipated $3.90. Investment banking revenues were up by a third (a better increase than both JPMorgan and Citigroup had in investment banking over the period) as debt and equity underwriting jumped by 63 per cent versus a year ago. The odd punt also paid off. Goldman’s investing and lending segment, which was cordoned off in 2011 to house long-term loans and investments which Goldman believes will be permissible under the Volcker rule, jumped 8 per cent to $2-billion, the second biggest contributor to revenue. And, the ratio of revenues paid to staff dropped from 44 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 to 43 per cent.

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