Why Citigroup's Shares Are Down

Shares of Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) are down sharply after the nation's third-largest bank by assets reported disappointing fourth-quarter results. The bank's earnings per share of $0.38 missed the consensus estimate of $0.51.

Looking at the income statement alone, the quarter didn't pan out well for the bank. It reported net income for the fourth quarter of $1.2 billion on revenues of $17.2 billion. This compares with net income of $1.3 billion for the fourth quarter of 2010 on revenues of $18.4 billion, declines of 11% and 7%, respectively.

The full-year results are slightly more nuanced. The bank recorded total net income for 2011 of $11.3 billion compared with $10.6 billion from a year ago, an increase of 6%. Alternatively, its full-year revenue came in at $78.4 billion, down 10% from $86.6 billion in 2010.

From a balance-sheet perspective, both the lending giant's quarter and year look much better. Its tier 1 common ratio, an important measure of a bank's financial strength from a regulator's point of view, increased by more than a full percentage point from the fourth quarter of 2010, going from 10.75% then to 11.8% now. And the bank's tangible book value per share, a core measure of value, came in at $49.81 dollars, an increase of 12% from $44.55 in 2010.

Comparing Citigroup's performance to JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE: JPM  ) results from last week, the story for banks this earnings season appears split between commercial banking and trading operations. While overall loans were up at both banks -- Citigroup's rose 14% for the quarter and JPMorgan's grew 4% -- the fear emanating from Europe continued to weigh on trading desks.

Next up in terms of earnings is Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , which reports later this week. It'll be important to see whether its commercial banking operations are able to post growth, too.

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Fool contributor John Maxfield owns shares in Bank of America. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo and has created a covered strangle position on Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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