Goldman Sachs Group Inc on Thursday reduced its 2009 bonus pool as it posted a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit.

The Wall Street bank said the total set aside for compensation for the year was $16.19 billion, down from $16.7 billion at the end of the third quarter.

Goldman has been the primary target of public anger toward Wall Street over bank profits and outsized bonuses soon after the financial crisis and government bailouts.

The bank reported fourth-quarter net income of $4.95 billion, or $8.20 a share for shareholders, compared with a loss of $2.12 billion, or $4.97 a share, a year earlier.

Goldman shares closed up 93 cents at $167.79 on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Steve Eder; editing by John Wallace)