(REUTERS) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc's profit fell 56 percent in the fourth quarter but easily beat analysts' estimates during a weak period for investment banking revenue.

Wall Street's biggest bank by assets earned $978 million, or $1.84 per share, down from $2.2 billion, or $3.79 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected a profit of $1.24 per share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Goldman shares were up 2.3 percent in premarket trading after it released the earnings report.

(Reporting By Lauren Tara LaCapra; editing by John Wallace)