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Citigroup profit beats on investment banking boost

Kitco News

(Reuters) - Citigroup Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday, boosted by a surge in investment banking revenue and lower expenses.

Investment banking revenue rose 20 percent to $1.4 billion, as strong growth in advisory and investment-grade debt underwriting more than offset a drop in equity underwriting.

Bond trading rose 1 percent in sharp contrast to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, both of which reported declines.

But a 24 percent drop in equities trading pressured Citi’s overall revenue, which fell 2 percent to $18.58 billion and came in slightly below analysts’ estimates.

Revenue from consumer banking, the bank’s largest business, was flat at $8.5 billion, due to weakness in Asia.

Earlier this year, the bank said it would earn $2 billion more in revenue from lending activities than it did in 2018.

Total loans at the third-largest U.S. bank by assets rose 3 percent to $682.3 billion, while deposits grew 5 percent to $1.03 trillion, excluding foreign exchange fluctuations.

Citi’s net interest margin, a closely watched metric, expanded 8 basis points to 2.72 percent in the quarter, while total operating expenses fell 3 percent to $10.58 billion

Net income rose to $4.71 billion, or $1.87 per share, for the first quarter ended March 31 from $4.62 billion, or $1.68 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts were looking for a profit of $1.80 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Shares of the company were up 1.2 percent in trading before the bell.

Reporting by Imani Moise in New York and Sidharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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