Citigroup's Results Climb, Buoyed by Consumer Bank

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Both revenue and earnings per share for the quarter beat analysts' estimates.

Citi's consumer banking division reported a 6 percent drop in profits in the quarter, to $1.17 billion, as the bank saw higher credit costs.

The main growth driver in the quarter was the global consumer business.

Firm-wide, Citi had revenues of $18.17 billion in the quarter up from $17.76 billion in the period a year earlier, beating analysts' expectations. At $1.42 a share, earnings topped the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts of $1.32 a share.

"The results were solid but not exceptional", said Morningstar analyst Jim Sinegal.

The shares rose 0.2% to $75.11 in premarket trading.

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Citigroup Inc. said Thursday that its third-quarter revenue rose 2%, boosted by another jump in investment banking and progress in its evolving consumer bank. Using hedge fund analytics tool Kensho, CNBC found the S&P 500 posts a gain of 2.3 percent on average 30 days after third-quarter earnings season begins, trading positive 79 percent of the time.

While Citi's trading desks focus heavily on bond and currency trading, it was the bank's other trading desks that stood out.

Wall Street banks have been grappling with bond market challenges for most of the past seven years, as client volumes have been depressed for a number of reasons and new regulations have restricted certain activities and made trading more expensive. However, the bank's trading revenue was down just 11% from the same quarter a year ago, to $3.63 billion, compared with the bank's forecast of a roughly 15% drop.

Trading revenue during the fourth quarter of 2016 benefited from a surge in trading activity following the US election.

Citi cited "continued growth in loans and assets under management" for the rise, as well as higher interest rates.

Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank, said this earnings season is off to a good start.

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