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Updated from 9:14 a.m. EDT

Several banking companies reported strong first-quarter results Monday, saying economic strength, heavy securities activity and strong performances across nearly all other business segments helped catapult their quarterly earnings.


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Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

, the two largest banking companies to release results on Monday, both easily beat Wall Street expectations.

Other banks that released results included

U.S. Bancorp

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Bank of New York

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(CMA) - Get Comerica Incorporated Report


Northern Trust

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Most banks reported strong results because of non-interest income related to consumer banking fees, commissions on securities underwriting and trading, and investments in start-up businesses. Growth in the volume of lending activities also jumped, but the income received on those loans shrunk or fell flat for many as the

Federal Reserve

continued to raise interest rates in February and March.

Citigroup, the world's largest financial services company, said earnings jumped 53%, to $1.04 a diluted share from 68 cents a share in last year's first quarter. The New York-based banking company far surpassed the analysts' consensus expectation of 78 cents from

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The highest estimate among that group was 83 cents.

Citigroup's core income, excluding restructuring-related charges of $12 million, rose to $3.6 billion from $2.4 billion in last year's first quarter.

Through its investments in

Nikko Securities


Salomon Smith Barney

, Citigroup's global corporate business turned in the company's strongest earnings growth, of 36%, as capital markets strengthened and merger and acquisition activity picked up.

Citigroup's investment management and private banking segment benefited from a strong global economy, with a 26% surge in year-over-year core income. Global consumer, a segment that includes credit cards, lending, annuities and Internet bank application e-Citi, posted a 23% increase in its earnings over the comparable quarter in 1999.

Citigroup's stock closed Monday up 1 1/4, or 2.2%, at 59 1/4.

Bank of America, the No. 2 U.S. banking company behind Citigroup, was also a strong beneficiary of economic good times in the first quarter, with its earnings beating analysts' expectations. The company reported broad strength in many of its segments and business areas, including investment banking and securities trading as well as aggressive investments in small start-up businesses.

Bank of America's net earnings jumped 17%, to $2.24 billion compared with $1.91 billion in the first quarter of 1999. That translated into $1.33 a diluted share, a 23% rise from $1.08 a share in last year's first quarter and a number that easily beat First Call/Thomson Financial expectations for $1.24 a share.

Nearly all of the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking company's profit growth came from non-interest income, which grew 26% to $4.05 billion, helped by a 45% surge in profits from securities trading commissions and investment banking fees.

Bank of America also chalked up $408 million in gains from its equity investments, which included $219 million realized through sales and $189 million because of capital appreciation.

Higher interest rates became more of an Achilles' heel for Bank of America in the first quarter. The bank's net interest income dropped 1% below its first-quarter 1999 earnings.

Bank of America finished Monday up 3/8, or 0.8%, at 50 5/16.

Other banks also posted strong results:

Bank of New York said its earnings per share were up 12% at 46 cents a diluted share, compared with 41 cents a diluted share for the first quarter of 1999, beating First Call/Thomson Financial's forecast by a penny. Net income rose 7%, to $338 million from $316 million in the prior year's quarter. The New York-based company attributed the earnings growth to higher revenues from securities servicing fees, and securities and foreign exchange trading fees. Bank of New York shares were up 1/8 to 39 9/16 in afternoon trading.

Comerica's first-quarter earnings per share jumped 12%. The company's operating income rose to $178 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, vs. $159 million, or 98 cents a share, for the same quarter last year, beating First Call/Thomson Financail estimates by a penny. The Detroit-based company cited strong growth in business loans. Comerica shares were up 1, or 2%, to 42.

Northern Trust reported record income per share, which rose 20%, to 49 cents a diluted share from 41 cents a share a year earlier, beating First Call/Thomson Financial's forecast by 2 cents. Net income increased 19%, to $113.3 million from $95.1 million in the first quarter of 1999. The Chicago-based company cited 27% growth in trust fees, favorable equity markets and foreign exchange-related profits. Shares of Northern Trust rose 1 7/16, or 2%, to 59 1/4.

One banking institution missed expectations slightly, though it still reported a rise in earnings. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp said first-quarter operating earnings rose slightly to $387.6 million, or 52 cents a diluted share, compared with $368.6 million, or 51 cents a diluted share, in the first quarter of 1999, falling short of First Call's forecast for 53 cents a share. U.S. Bancorp shares were down 11/16, or 3%, to 20 5/8.