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Citigroup Beats Estimate on Reserve Release

Citigroup posted results that beat analysts’ estimates for first-quarter profit with strong investment banking revenue on Thursday. This is a bigger-than-expected release of loan-loss reserves.Citigroup said it was shuttering retail banking operations in 13 countries across Asia and parts of Europe to focus more on wealth management outside the U.S. This is one of the first big strategic moves made by CEO Jane Fraser. Shares of the bank were down less than 1% after climbing 3.1% in the premarket.

The bank reported profit of $7.94 billion, or $3.62 a share, exceeding the $2.60 estimate of analysts. Revenue of $19.3 billion topped the $18.8 billion estimate.The firm also said it had released $3.9 billion in loan-loss reserves in the quarter, which resulted in a $2.06 billion gain after $1.75 billion in credit losses in the period. Analysts had expected a $393.4 million provision in the quarter.

The bank posted record revenue from investment banking and equities trading, similar to rival banks that have reported earlier. Citigroup equities trading revenue of $1.48 billion exceeded analysts’ estimate by more than $300 million, and fixed income trading revenue of $4.55 billion topped the estimate by roughly $100 million.Investment banking revenue rose 46% to $1.97 billion, about $300 million more than the estimate, on high activity in equity underwriting because of the boom in SPAC issuance.

CEO Jane Fraser who is reporting results for the first quarter at the helm of the country’s third-biggest bank, wasted no time in making changes to the firm’s sprawling global operations. The bank is exiting consumer operations in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.The plan is to focus its non-U.S. consumer banking operations on Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE and London and places with a great concentration of wealth.

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