Goldman Sachs had a blowout quarter -- but one chart provides a reality check

Goldman Sachs on Tuesday reported strong third-quarter earnings, but a look at the bigger picture provides a bit of a reality check.

While the firm beat analyst expectations across the board, and revenues were up from the year-ago quarter in equities and fixed income trading, the year-to-date comparison is less rosy.

In the first nine months of 2016, total trading revenues of $10.87 billion are down 11% from trading revenues of $12.27 billion in the first nine months of 2015.

In investment banking, total revenues of $4.79 billion are down 13% from $5.48 billion in 2015.

Investment and lending revenues in the first nine months of the year are down 37% from a year ago, while investment management revenues are down 10%.

Basically, with the exception of debt underwriting revenue and securities services revenue, everything is down.

So while things have certainly picked up for Goldman Sachs from a particularly weak first quarter, the year-to-date picture shows just how hard it can be to make up for lost time.

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