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Citigroup's Bottom Line Needs a Housing Bottom

On Friday, JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) beat expectations, helped in part by a $900-million mortgage loan-loss reserve release. Wells Fargo saw a reserve release of $200 million.

Besides offering earnings upside to Citigroup, Goldberg says reserve releases could increase tangible book and capital ratios, be a positive signal to the market and improve profitability at Citi Holdings, among other things.

While all this is grounds for optimism in the upcoming quarters, the third quarter for Citigroup is likely to be somewhat uninspiring.

Overall, the third largest U.S. bank is expected to post an operating profit of 96 cents per share in the third quarter on revenues of $18.707 billion, according to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters.

The estimates exclude the previously disclosed $2.9 billion write-down of the firm's 49% stake in Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Accounting gains/losses stemming from the revaluation of the bank's debt (DVA/CVA) have also been excluded from earnings forecasts.

The bank is expected to show improvement in capital markets revenue in the third quarter, while continuing international loan growth is likely to offset some of the margin pressure at home.

Concerns about a global slowdown and its effects on loan growth and borrower performance in emerging markets are likely to be addressed in the analyst conference call.

Analysts will also be looking for more clarity on the bank's buyback plans for 2013, after its request to return capital was rejected by the Federal Reserve earlier this year.

-- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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