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Citigroup beats third-quarter earnings estimates

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CNBC's Wilfred Frost joins 'Squawk Box' to break down Citigroup's third-quarter earnings, which beat Wall Street's expectations on the top and bottom lines. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

Citigroup reported stronger-than-expected results for its third quarter on Thursday as trading revenue helped the company deliver a major increase in profits.

The bank reported $2.15 in earnings per share on $17.15 billion in revenue. Wall Street was anticipating earnings per share of $1.65 on revenue of $16.97 billion, based on Refinitiv consensus estimates.

Net income came in at $4.6 billion, compared with $3.1 billion a year ago. That is a 48% increase year over year.

Trading revenue for fixed income and equity markets topped estimates at $3.18 billion and $1.23 billion, respectively. Analysts expected $3.07 billion in revenue from fixed income trading and $909.7 million in revenue from equities trading, according to StreetAccount estimates.

Equity trading revenue was up 40% year over year. Investment banking revenue saw a similar jump.

“The recovery from the pandemic continues to drive corporate and consumer confidence and is creating very active client engagement as you can see through our strong results in Investment Banking and Equity Markets, both up approximately 40% year-over-year, in addition to double-digit fee growth in Treasury and Trade Solutions as we help our clients reposition their supply chain,” CEO Jane Fraser said in a statement.

The bank’s shares were up less than 1% in Thursday’s trading after the earnings report.

Fraser took over as CEO earlier this year after Citi was hit with a $400 million fine and a consent order in 2020 due to concerns about its risk management and internal controls. Fraser said on Thursday’s investor call that working with regulators is a top priority.

“We submitted our plans to our regulators and continued to have a constructive dialogue with them as we pivot now, firmly, to execution,” Fraser said.

The bank’s third-quarter results would have been stronger if adjusted for the sale of its Australia consumer business, which created a pre-tax loss for Citi. On the guidance front, CFO Mark Mason said on the investor call that the company’s outlook for revenue and expenses for the full year remained the same.

On Wednesday, JPMorgan kicked off bank earnings season by beating profit expectations on a $1.5 billion boost from loan loss reserves. Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America also beat expectations Thursday.

For the second quarter, Citi beat expectations on the top and bottom lines thanks in part to a $1.1 billion benefit for loan loss reserves. The bank also announced in April that it was exiting retail operations in 13 non-U.S. countries.

Entering Thursday, shares of Citi were up about 14% year to date, which trailed the returns of the KBW Bank Index and some large-cap peers. Citi’s executives said that stock buybacks would continue to be part of the bank’s strategy to boost shareholder returns.

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