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Abigail with attitude: The mediocrity of Goldman's Q3 results

And talking of Goldman, I have to admit to being surprised at how mediocre its third-quarter earnings were. In mid-October, the firm announced that revenue in fixed income, currency and commodities fell some 45% to $1.25 billion. This was a bigger drop than that experienced by rival flow houses. Goldman’s third-quarter net income was actually flat at $1.4 billion because the firm cut remuneration costs. Revenues fell to $6.7 billion from $8.4 billion a year earlier.

Chief financial officer Harvey Schwartz stated the obvious: "Not a good quarter from us in FICC... it’s just one quarter." More worrying perhaps for market observers is that the bank’s return on equity was a meagre 8.1%, well down from the glorious pre-crash days.

It is counter-intuitive for Goldman to underperform its rivals. And when you add that to the fact that you can’t pick up a newspaper without seeing yet another negative story about JPMorgan – the former acceptable face of finance – it does seem as if the financial landscape might be changing.

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