The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has gained 76 points in pre-market trading, suggesting a positive start to the stock market today. Meanwhile, individual stocks on the move this morning include Citigroup (NYSE:C) and M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB), which today both posted quarterly earnings results before the opening bell.
Overall, the Dow won't get much direction from world markets, which didn't move far overnight: Despite escalating tensions in Ukraine, European indexes were down by less than 0.5% as of 7:30 a.m. EDT. Today begins a shortened trading week for Wall Street, as markets are closed on Friday in observance of the Good Friday holiday.
Banking giant Citigroup saw no profit growth in its fiscal first quarter, reporting $1.23 a share as it did last year. Revenue fell by 1% to $20.1 billion. Those results were generally better than Wall Street was expecting: analysts had braced for a 5% dip in revenue and a 7% decline in profit. In a press release accompanying the earnings announcement, CEO Michael Corbat highlighted the company's increasing capital holdings, which should give the bank room to eventually boost its cash returns to shareholders. In fact, Corbat said that management is "very cognizant of our shareholders desire to see a sustainable return of capital," and so the company is still in talks with the Federal Reserve aimed at getting a return program approved. The stock was up 2% in pre-market trading.
M&T Bank booked a 19% slide in fiscal first-quarter earnings. Profit came in at $1.63 a share, compared to the $2 it logged a year ago. Still, that result was slightly better than the $1.61 that analysts were looking for this time around. The company was hurt by poor sales trends for the first two months of the quarter, according to a statement by CFO Rene Jones, but saw a healthy rebound in customer activity in March. Unlike Citigroup, M&T Bank had its proposed capital allocation plan approved by the Federal Reserve, a fact that it trumpeted in a press release accompanying the earnings announcement. Meanwhile, M&T logged a healthy boost in its balance sheet as its asset pool grew by 7% to $88.5 billion. The stock was unchanged in pre-market trading.