Goldman Sachs Group (GS) reported first-quarter income 72% lower than a year earlier as declining fees from equities trading offset gains in underwriting activity. The investment banking giant said earnings for the three months ended March 31 fell to $908 million, or $1.56 a share, from $3.3 billion, or $5.59 a share, a year ago. Excluding the redemption of preferred shares by Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), Goldman said first-quarter income was $4.38 a share. Revenue for the quarter fell 7% to nearly $11.9 billion from $12.78 billion. Institutional client services revenue rose 83% from the fourth quarter to $6.65 billion but is 22% lower than a year earlier. Investing and lending revenue rose 37% to $2.7 billion from $1.97 billion a year ago. "We are pleased with our first quarter results," Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein said. "Generally improving market and economic conditions, coupled with our strong client franchise, produced solid results. Looking ahead, we continue to see encouraging indications for economic activity globally." Write to Jason Philyaw.