Updated from 9:05 a.m. EDT

Citigroup ( C) gave Wall Street what it wanted Thursday, reporting that first-quarter earnings rose 29% from a year ago, thanks to strength in each of its business segments.

The world's biggest financial services firm earned $5.27 billion, or $1.01 a share, in the latest quarter, compared with earnings of $4.10 billion, or 79 cents a share, last year. Revenue rose 16% to a quarterly record of $21.5 billion. The quarterly profit was one of the biggest ever reported by a U.S. company and continues a string of blowout numbers at Citi dating back more than a year.

Each of the bank's nine business groups recorded higher revenue and double-digit earnings gains, with its consumer and investment banking divisions leading the way. The latest quarter included a gain of $180 million, or 3 cents a share, from the sale of its electronic funds services business.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of 94 cents a share, excluding the gain. Most analysts had been expecting the firm to post a profit of $4.5 billion and revenue of $21.04 billion, but many also had been saying they wouldn't be surprised if Citigroup exceeded expectations.

The question remains, however, whether Citigroup's big earnings beat will be enough to take investors' minds off the Federal Reserve and the growing fear that interest rate hikes are just around the corner.

In early trading, Citigroup shares were down 53 cents, or 1%, to $50.42. Other bank stocks also were trading slightly lower, while the Philadelphia KBW Bank Index was unchanged.

"Citigroup's record first-quarter performance demonstrates our unique ability to capitalize on the continued strengthening of the global economy," Citigroup Chief Executive Charles Prince crowed in a press release announcing the earnings. Prince took over the CEO job from Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill in October.

If you liked this article you might like

SEC Charges Ex-CIBC Broker

SEC Charges Ex-CIBC Broker

Durus Manager Gets Hard Time

Durus Manager Gets Hard Time

Shift for SAC's Cohen

Shift for SAC's Cohen

New Frontier Holder Selling

New Frontier Holder Selling

PIPE Deal Shines Up Sun

PIPE Deal Shines Up Sun