Shares of Citigroup (C 0.55%) were getting hammered on Tuesday, even though the company reported quarterly revenue and net profit well above analyst expectations.
For the big bank's Q3 of fiscal 2020, total revenue came in at $17.3 billion, which was 7% below the same quarter in 2019. Net profit fell at a far steeper rate, declining 35% to $3.2 billion ($1.40 per share). This performance was on the back of 16% growth in total deposits, and a 4% decline in loans.
Analysts, however, had been expecting worse. On average, they were anticipating just over $17.2 billion on the top line, and a per-share net profit of only $0.91.
One big element in the better-than-expected results was the performance of Citigroup's considerable securities-trading operations, particularly in the fixed income segment. Revenue for the segment rose a sturdy 18% to $3.79 billion. The take from equity markets increased by 15%, meanwhile, to $875 million. These advances helped compensate for the 13% decline in the company's ever-important global consumer banking segment.
One major cost item for the bank, allowance for credit losses (i.e., loan-loss provisioning), was reduced significantly from recent heights. In Q2, Citigroup set aside over $5.6 billion for this purpose; in Q3, this plummeted to $314 million.
While several of these results were encouraging, some of Citigroup's pronouncements about the immediate future were not. CFO Mark Mason said, "We are expecting a somewhat more muted and slower recovery in both unemployment and GDP through 2022."
That clearly isn't what anxious bank investors want to hear these days. In trading Tuesday, Citigroup stock was down by 4.9%, a steeper fall than that of the broader market.