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Goldman Sachs beats estimates

Goldman Sachs, in another sign that banks might be turning themselves around, beat Wall Street's earnings expectations as it reported a profit of $1.66 billion for the first three months of this year. The bank, long considered one of the strongest players in the industry amid the credit crisis, also said it plans to raise $5 billion in a public offering to help it pay back government bailout funds. In a report that came a day earlier than expected, the bank said it earned $3.39 a share, easily surpassing analysts' forecasts for profit of $1.64 a share. That compares with earnings of $1.47 billion, or $3.23 a share, in the quarter ended Feb. 29, 2008. When Goldman became a bank holding company last fall amid the mushrooming credit crisis, it switched its reporting cycle so its fiscal quarters were in line with calendar quarters beginning Jan. 1. To adjust its reporting schedule, Goldman began fiscal 2009 on Jan. 1 instead of Dec. 1 of last year. The bank said that for the month of December, which fell between the change in reporting cycles, it lost $1 billion, or $2.15 a share. Goldman's total revenue was $11.88 billion during the quarter, compared with $18.63 billion in the prior-year quarter. Analysts forecast revenue of $7.19 billion. Goldman said profit was bolstered by strong revenue growth in its fixed income and currency businesses.

Circuit City seeks to sell brand, Web site

Circuit City is looking to sell its brand, trademarks and e-commerce business to Systemax, the same company that bought CompUSA's intellectual property in 2008. According to bankruptcy court filings, Circuit City has entered into a so-called stalking-horse agreement with Systemax for $6.5 million. A stalking-horse bid is an initial offer on a bankrupt company's assets from an interested buyer chosen by the company. The agreement also includes payments of a scaled percentage of revenues coming from the site. Other companies should have an opportunity to bid on the assets. Circuit City closed its remaining U.S. stores last month and has laid off about 34,000 workers since filing for bankruptcy protection in November.

Compiled from Staff, wire reports

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