On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs Group reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of market expectations, as sluggish trading activity overshadowed a banner year for mergers and acquisitions for Wall Street's premier investment bank, sending the company's stock down 2%.

Goldman's trading unit reported a reduced profit for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to the same period last year, as a more stable economy resulted in lower volatility and fewer swings in financial markets.

In the quarter ended Dec. 31, net earnings applicable to common stockholders fell to $3.81 billion, down from $4.36 billion a year earlier. The company's earnings per share dropped to $10.81 from $12.08 a year before.Goldman Sachs profits bolstered by bond trading boom | Financial Times

According to Refinitiv data, analysts predicted a profit of $11.76 per share on average.

Goldman Sachs, on the other hand, recorded a 45% increase in investment banking revenue in the quarter, to $3.80 billion.

During a year in which global transaction volumes surpassed $5 trillion for the first time, its top rainmakers raked in record fees advising on some of the largest mergers, initial public offerings, and deals involving special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

According to Refinitiv statistics, Goldman topped the league tables for global M&A advisory to continue its dominance in the dealmaking globe. Financial services firms are ranked according to the amount of M&A fees they produce in the league tables.