Citigroup Q2 earnings boosted by fixed income, cost-cutting

Javier E. David
Editor focused on markets and the economy

Citigroup (C) reported second-quarter earnings on Monday that beat Wall Street’s expectations, with results bolstered by a jump in fixed income trading, cost-cutting and a one-time gain on Tradeweb’s public offering.

The bank reported Q2 diluted earnings of $1.95 per share, with earnings boosted by a one-time pre-tax gain. On an unadjusted basis, the bank earned $1.83 per adjusted share, on $18.8 billion in revenue, compared to the comparable year ago’s results of $1.63 per share on $18.5 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected Citi to post $1.80 per share on $18.5 billion in revenue, according to Bloomberg.

Citi’s shares, which closed Friday’s trading at $71.77, initially rose in pre-market action but lost altitude as analysts digested Citi’s drop in trading revenue. The stock was marginally lower in midday dealings.

Revenues rose 2% from the second quarter of 2018, Citi said, helped by a $350 million pre-tax gain on its investment in electronic trading platform Tradeweb, which went public recently. Global consumer banking saw a 3% gain, while operating expenses declined by 2%, led by winding down of legacy businesses.

Additionally, the bank saw higher revenue from fixed income trading and consumer banking, which helped counterbalance an expected drop in investment banking and equity trading activities.

“We have good momentum and solid growth across our consumer franchise, particularly in the U.S.,” CEO Michael Corbat said in a statement.

“We remain committed to improve our returns on capital while continuing to provide meaningful capital return to our shareholders,” he added.

Citi is the first of Wall Street’s bulge-bracket banks to report results. Last month, the banking giant warned its results would be impacted by slow trading and investment banking activity — two pillars of Citi’s balance sheet.

With the global economy slowing, analysts are also watching for signs of weakness in Citi’s international banking segments. With the exception of its Europe, Middle East and Africa segment, revenues in of the bank’s international units saw single-digit year-over-year gains.

“At first blush, the results look fine and consistent with the view that Citi will continue to post improved profitability,” UBS banking analysts wrote in a research note to clients on Monday.

Citi’s stock has outpaced its banking peers thus far in 2019, and is up nearly 40% year to date. Oppenheimer rates Citi as Outperform with a 12-month price target of $102.

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