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Goldman's profit tops estimates; dividend raised

A Goldman Sachs sign is seen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
A Goldman Sachs sign is seen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Brendan Mcdermid / REUTERS

Goldman Sachs said Tuesday its first-quarter earnings fell from a year earlier, but were better than many analysts had anticipated thanks to aggressive cost-cutting and better-than-expected investment banking and trading revenues.

Goldman earned $2.1 billion, or $3.92 per share, during the quarter. In the year-ago period, which was generally stronger for investment banks' trading and banking activity, Goldman earned $4.38 per share, excluding a one-time cost for buying back preferred stock.

The Wall Street investment bank also said it would raise its quarterly dividend to 46 cents per share from 35 cents.

Late last week, Goldman revealed that its Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein received a $16.2 million pay package last year, a 15 percent increase over the year before that came primarily from a salary bump and greater stock rewards.

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Blankfein's compensation package included a $2 million salary, a $3 million bonus and $10.7 million worth of stock.

Goldman earned a $2.5 billion profit during 2011, down from $3.6 billion in 2010, and its share price fell 46 percent last year, amid a slowdown in investment banking deals and volatile trading conditions.

One of Wall Street’s most prestigious investment banks, Goldman hit the headlines in March after a column on the opinion pages of The New York Times decried a culture of greed and arrogance at the company.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Click here to check Goldman’s share price.

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Goldman’s CEO gets a 15 percent pay raise