Citigroup profits rise, helped by trading like JPMorgan

Citi saw a boost in profits from its trading operations

NEW YORK — Citigroup's fourth-quarter profits rose by 15 percent, as the banking conglomerate benefited from a boost in trading similar to competitor JPMorgan Chase.

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The New York-based bank said Tuesday that it earned a profit of $4.98 billion, or $2.15 per share, compared with a profit of $4.3 billion, or $1.65 per share, in the same period a year earlier. The results topped analysts’ expectations for a profit of $1.81 a share, according to FactSet.

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Like JPMorgan Chase, which also reported its results on Tuesday, Citi saw a boost in profits from its trading operations. Bond trading revenues rose 49 percent from a year earlier, when a steep downfall in the markets in the fourth quarter took its toll on all banks’ trading desks.

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In Citi’s consumer group, profits rose 12 percent from a year earlier, helped by the bank’s large credit card division where more consumers borrowed and spent during the holiday season.

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The bank's return on common equity, a measurement on how well a bank performs with the assets it holds, was 10.6 percent in the quarter. Banks the size of Citi typically aim to have that figure above 10%.

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For the full year, Citi had a profit of $19.4 billion, up from $18.05 billion in 2018. Revenue at the bank was $74.29 billion compared with $72.85 billion a year before.