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Goldman Sachs profit falls

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Goldman Sachs profit falls
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US investment bank Goldman Sachs says its fourth quarter profit declined 53 percent due in part to weaker earnings from what it called “generally low client activity levels.”

Bank earnings suffered across the board in the fourth quarter as the markets were unsettled by uncertainty over European sovereign debt and the impact of the Federal Reserve’s 600 billion dollar stimulus programme to buy back treasury bonds.

But Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said in a statement that the bank is “seeing signs of growth and more economic activity” following “difficult” market and economic conditions for much of 2010.

Fourth-quarter profit roughly matched analyst estimates, but revenue fell short. Goldman shares fell.

Goldman, long known for generous payouts to employees, also said compensation would be down in 2010 from the prior year, but the decline is smaller than the drop in the bank’s revenue.

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