Citigroup’s stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings report sparked some optimism among stock analysts. Anthony Polini of Raymond James is one of the enthusiasts.
"The bottom line is this was a very encouraging quarter, if you're looking for revenue growth to accelerate down the road," he tells CNBC.
Net income totaled $3 billion, or 10 cents a share, down from $4.43 billion, or 15 cents, a year earlier. But 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected only 9 cents of earnings per share in the latest quarter.
|Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit
The stock closed Thursday at $4.55, down 4 percent since the beginning of the year. But better times are ahead, Polini says, stating that he would “buy the heck out of" Citi shares.
"I think this stock will be one of the best performers going forward for the remainder of the year," he says.
Polini likes the fact that Citi earnings are being powered by retail loans as opposed to commercial loans for JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.
Others have positive assessments of Citi as well. “These guys have put up a fairly respectable record of turning this institution around,” David Knutson, a credit analyst with Legal & General Investment Management, tells Bloomberg.
To be sure, he’s a bit concerned about Citi’s use of reserves to juice earnings. “It’s another question whether they should be releasing reserves as aggressively as they are,” Knutson says.
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