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

INTERNATIONAL - 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 US 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.

Reuters