- Associated Press - Monday, October 17, 2011

NEW YORK — Citigroup’s earnings rose 74 percent in the third quarter, to $3.8 billion, on an accounting gain and lower losses from loans.

The New York bank earned $1.23 per share, on revenue of $20.86 billion. That’s up from income of $2.2 billion during the same quarter last year.

Citi’s income included a $1.9 billion accounting gain related to its credit holdings. Excluding the gain, the earnings were equivalent to 84 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted Citigroup would earn 82 cents per share.

Citi’s stock rose 3.5 percent to $29.44 in early trading. Citi is the nation’s third-biggest bank measured by assets.

Excluding the accounting gain, Citi’s revenue fell 8 percent from the same period last year.

Citi’s losses from bad loans fell 41 percent during the quarter to $4.5 billion as defaults fell from its credit card loans for Citi-branded cards. That allowed Citi to add $1.4 billion to its earnings from credit reserves it set aside for deeper losses.

The bank’s international consumer business increased 10 percent due to growth in Asia and Latin America. Its North American consumer business fell 9 percent from a year ago due mainly to lower average balances on its credit cards. Revenue in the card business also fell due to regulations that limit the ways banks can increase interest rates and fees.

Citi said its stock and bond trading business was hurt by uncertainty in financial markets due to the debt crisis in Europe and a downgrade of the U.S. government’s credit rating in August.

“Citi continues to navigate a challenging economic environment,” Vikram Pandit, Citi’s CEO, said in a statement.

Fixed Income revenues fell 33 percent to $2.3 billion, and equity revenue fell 73 percent to $289 million. Investment banking revenue fell 21 percent as fewer companies issued stocks and bonds or made acquisitions.

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