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Citigroup earnings beat on lower taxes, 38% surge in stock trading revenue

Citigroup on Friday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analyst expectations, with the results boosted by lower corporate taxes and strong revenue from stock trading.

Here is how the banking giant fared in the first quarter versus Wall Street expectations:

— Earnings: $1.68 per share vs. $1.61 expected by Thomson Reuters.
— Revenue: $18.872 billion vs. $18.865 billion expected.
— Net interest income: $11.17 billion vs. $11.26 billion forecast by StreetAccount.
— Fixed income, currencies and commodities trading revenue: $3.4 billion vs. $3.68 billion expected.

Citigroup shares opened 1.4 percent higher on Friday.

“Our first quarter results demonstrate strength and balance across our franchise and position us well for the rest of the year,” CEO Michael Corbat said in a statement. “During the quarter, we returned more than $3 billion in capital to common shareholders which helped drive a significant improvement in earnings per share.”

Citigroup’s results also got a boost from lower taxes. Last quarter, Citigroup’s effective tax rate fell to 24 percent from 31 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

Revenue from Citigroup’s fixed-income trading business fell 7 percent to $3.4 billion in the first quarter, but that was offset by a 38 percent hike in equity trading sales. Overall trading revenue grew by 3 percent in the first quarter to $5 billion.

Citigroup said the sharp rise in stock trading revenue was a byproduct of increased market volatility in equity markets. The S&P 500 has posted 28 moves of at least 1 percent this year. The index posted just eight moves of that magnitude all of last year.

The company also said its global consumer banking business saw a revenue increase of 7 percent to $8.4 billion amid “growth across all regions.” Revenue in North America rose 4 percent to $5.2 billion while Latin America sales gained 15 percent to $1.3 billion.

However, Citigroup’s net interest income and margin fell just short of expectations. Net interest income totaled $11.17 billion for the first quarter, while net interest margin came in at 2.64 percent.

Also Friday, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo reported earnings that beat on the top and bottom lines.

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