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Citigroup Profit Beats On Higher Bond Trading, Lower Costs

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Citigroup Profit Beats On Higher Bond Trading, Lower Costs

Citigroup Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, helped by lower expenses, higher bond trading revenue and strength in its consumer banking business in Mexico.

Investors have been waiting to see how trading revenue fared at the five big Wall Street banks due to an escalating U.S-China trade war and executives warning that the business’s growth would be muted.

Citigroup reported a 9 percent jump in bond trading revenue, outperforming bigger rival JPMorgan Chase & Co, which reported a 10 percent drop in fixed-income trading revenue.

Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach, who plans to retire next year, had previously said Citigroup expected total fixed income and trading revenue to be “flat to slightly higher” in the third quarter.

The bank’s shares rose 2.4 percent to $70.20 in early trading.

Citigroup reported a 2 percent rise in global consumer banking revenue. The bank recently restructured its U.S. consumer business to operate more like those in Asia and Mexico, where it has been seeing better results.

Consumer banking revenue in Latin America rose 20 percent, including a gain on the sale of an asset management business in Mexico. Excluding that gain, revenue rose 8 percent on a constant currency basis, boosting global consumer banking revenue 3 percent.

North America branded card business reported a 3 percent drop in revenue, largely due to the sale of the Hilton hotels portfolio.

Excluding the sale, total net interest revenue from the business was $1.88 billion, up 5 percent from the second quarter and 3 percent from a year earlier.

The card business has been a cause for concern among investors and the Wall Street bank has been looking to improve its performance.

Net income for the third-largest U.S. bank by assets rose to $4.62 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $4.13 billion a year earlier.

Earnings per share rose to $1.73 from $1.42, helped by buybacks that reduced shares outstanding by 8 percent from a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings per share of $1.69, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Total revenue was slightly lower at $18.39 billion, from $18.42 billion a year earlier.

Operating expenses fell 1 percent to $10.31 billion and the company’s widely watched efficiency ratio improved to 56.1 percent from 56.6 percent a year earlier.

Citigroup’s provision for income taxes fell by $395 million following changes in the U.S. tax code, which reduced the bank’s tax rate to 24 percent in the quarter from 31 percent a year earlier.

The bank’s return on tangible common equity was 11.3 percent in the quarter, inching closer to Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat’s goal of 13.5 percent in 2020.

Up to Thursday’s close, Citi shares have lost 8 percent of their value for the year, compared with a 5 percent drop in the broader KBW Bank Index.

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Theresa May And Tony Blair In Heated Argument Over Brexit Deal

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Theresa May And Tony Blair In Heated Argument Over Brexit Deal

There was a public outcry between British prime minister Theresa May and former prime minister and Labour Party leader Tony Blair over the Brexit deal.

May was just short of calling Blair’s pronouncements irresponsible, but she said Blair was insulting voters and that his actions could undermine her government. Blair says the way to break the current impasse between the parliament and the prime minister is to hold another Brexit referendum.

Blair was prime minister from 1997 till 2007. He has accused the conservative leader, Theresa May, of being “irresponsible.”

Blair, who is against exiting the EU, is seizing on May’s unpopular deal in the house of commons to galvanize the public to demand a new vote.

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Gas Explosion Injures 42 In Japan

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Gas Explosion Injures 42 In Japan

Many residents of Sapporo in northern Japan are still in shock today after a suspected gas explosion injured forty-two persons in a restaurant. The building that also housed a real estate office was destroyed.

The explosion in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, threw debris across the area.  Some residents said the explosion felt like an earthquake.

Police say all injuries except one were not serious.

A shelter has been set up to accommodate dozens who were rendered homeless by the blast.

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Restaurateur Admits Trying To Frame Wife As Terrorist

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Restaurateur Admits Trying To Frame Wife As Terrorist

A Maryland restaurateur has admitted that he paid a man to frame his wife as a terrorist and burn down his restaurant.

The Capital reports 51-year-old Khalil Ahmad pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stalking his estranged wife. In exchange, cases pending against him in three Baltimore area counties were dropped.

Federal court documents say Ahmad already faced financial ruin and was worried about a divorce settlement’s financial impact. He discussed having her killed, but settled on paying an informant to frame her, with “a ballistic vest, firearm, bottles of alcohol and extremist jihad writings.”

Ahmad also planned to collect the insurance policy on his Pakistani restaurant, Allah Rakha, which means, roughly, “protected by God.”

He faces five years on the stalking charge, and could be deported upon his release.

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