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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Market recovery lifts Citigroup
Citigroup CEO Sanford Weill
Sanford Weill stepped down as CEO earlier this month
Citigroup, the word's biggest financial services company, has turned in forecast-beating results, helped by the recent rebound in global stock markets.

The company, which runs global retail and investment banking operations, said profits for the July to September quarter came in at $4.7bn (2.8bn), 20% up on the same period last year, and slightly ahead of analysts' expectations.

Revenues also rose, climbing 10% compared to one year ago to $19.4bn.

Citigroup said the figures reflected a stronger performance across all its operations, with investment banking profits up by 31% and earnings from its retail arm climbing 26%.

In common with other global banks, Citigroup has been buoyed by a stock market rally which has lifted leading US share prices by nearly 30% since mid-March.

However, the company's revenues from advising on corporate mergers fell by 30%, reflecting a continued dearth of major tie-ups.

Future gains

Analysts said Citigroup was well-positioned to benefit from any improvement in the US economy, which is currently showing signs of life after three years of patchy growth.

"They should be entering a sweet spot over the next 12 to 24 months as the economy improves, demand for commercial lending grows, and capital markets get better," said David Katz at Matrix Asset Advisors.

Citigroup shares, which have climbed by 37% so far this year, were 28 cents lower at $48 in early trade on Wall Street.

Earlier this year, Citigroup paid $400m, more than any other bank, to settle an official investigation into allegations that Wall Street analysts issued misleading research to investors during the height of the dot.com boom.

The next three months will mark Citibank's first quarter under the leadership of new chief executive Charles Prince, who succeeded the company's long-standing boss, Sanford Weill, on 1 October.

Mr Weill has taken on the role of chairman.

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