Citigroup Inc's first-quarter profit fell 32 percent, slightly beating expectations, as the bank lost less money on bad loans. The third-largest U.S. bank said it earned $3.0 billion, or 10 cents per share, down from $4.4 billion, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected 9 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Following is a selection of initial comments by analysts:
MICHAEL HOLLAND, FOUNDER OF HOLLAND & CO LLC
It's more in line with BofA's results than JPMorgan's. JPMorgan continues to set the bar so high compared to the other banks. The numbers look okay relative to expectations, but it's a tough slog. I think the tepid loan growth is just confirmation of the expectations people have. (Citi's results) show the healing process has begun, but it continues to be slow across the industry.
GARY TOWNSEND, CEO, HILL-TOWNSEND CAPITAL
It's not surprising that revenue is falling. I know that the market is giving great attention to that but both Bank of America as well as JPMorgan for that matter, as well as Citi all have disposition portfolios. Out of Citi Holdings you have a 33 percent decline in assets. That can't help but create some revenue drag. What is more important, frankly, is what is going on the credit side...because what that does is position them late this year or early next to start showing some very strong earnings. What I see is the expected progress.
ANTHONY POLINI, BANKING ANALYST, RAYMOND JAMES
The positive news for Citi is we're in this transition period where we're getting an acceleration in earnings growth, and it's on track for higher quality earnings by the end of the year.
LARRY PERUZZI, SENIOR EQUITY TRADER, CABRERA CAPITAL MARKETS INC, BOSTON
This is a huge stock and it's going to be widely traded today and definitely impact not only the financial sector but the overall market. The headline numbers suggest a weaker quarter, but to me, the loss seems a little bit less than expected.
MATTHEW KO, BANKING ANALYST, PROFIT INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Revenues were less than expected. Not seeing much asset growth. Seems like the same story with JPM and BAC who reported already. Release of reserves is helping boost earnings.