Take The Long View

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) continued its roller-coaster ride in Monday trading, moving up over 154 points as of 1 p.m. EDT. The move was broad-based, with 27 of the 30 Dow components rising.

Citigroup beats the Street
Citigroup (NYSE:C) released first-quarter results Monday morning, reporting adjusted earnings per share of $1.30 which solidly beat Wall Street estimates by $0.16 per share. 

The increase in earnings came despite a decline in overall revenue compared to the first quarter of 2013. The decline was driven primarily by reduced mortgage refinance activity and lower revenue in the bank's institutional clients group. 

CEO Michael Corbat's statement was upbeat on the results and outlook for the company: "Both our consumer and institutional businesses performed well and we grew both loans and deposits while holding the line on our expenses." It was that hard line on expenses that drove profit higher on the lower top-line revenue.

Citi investors celebrated the release by pushing the stock up 4%.

Visa upgraded
Robert W. Baird on Monday upgraded Visa (NYSE:V) from neutral to outperform. Baird stated that the risk/reward ratio has become more attractive for Visa at its current price. The news sent Visa higher by 2.6% through early afternoon.

Visa's stock more than tripled since 2011 before pulling back early in 2014. The rise is driven by very impressive fundamentals.

V Chart

V data by YCharts.

Net operating revenue increased 11% and earnings per share increased 14% at the end of the quarter that closed on Dec. 31, 2013. Total Visa branded cards outstanding increased 6% to 2.2 billion. Every quarter, over $1 trillion of transactions zip across the Visa payment network.

The company's fiscal second quarter ended on March 31. Results are scheduled to be released on April 24.

U.S. consumers rebound from polar vortex, and then some
The U.S. Department of Commerce released better than expected retail sales Monday, adding a jolt of macro optimism to the markets.

Retail sales increased 1.1% month over month in March, and February's numbers were revised upward to 0.7% from 0.3%.

The improvements were seen across multiple industries, particularly in the vehicle sales and building materials subsets. Motor vehicle and dealer parts surged a very impressive 3.3% in March, outperforming February's 2.5% growth. Building material and garden equipment and supply companies also benefited from the spring thaw, growing 1.6% in March versus a 0.6% decline in February.

Economists look to this data release as an early indicator for GDP growth. It is likely too little, too late for the first-quarter GDP to be released later this month. However, this positive release is reason for optimism among investors and observers for continued GDP improvement over the rest of the year.

Big banking's little $20.8 trillion secret
There's a brand-new company that's revolutionizing banking, and is poised to kill the hated traditional brick-and-mortar banks. That's bad for them, but great for investors. And amazingly, despite its rapid growth, this company is still flying under the radar of Wall Street. To learn about about this company, click here to access our new special free report.


Jay Jenkins has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.