The earnings parade began on Wall Street Monday with Citigroup ( C), the nation's biggest financial services firm, reporting a 35% rise in profits, aided by the sale of a life insurance business. In the quarter, Citigroup, earned $7.14 billion, or $1.38 a share, up from $5.3 billion, or $1.02 a share, a year earlier. Citigroup's profits included a $2.2 billion after-tax gain on the sale of a life insurance and annuities business. Without the proceeds from the sale, the quarter wasn't as impressive. Earnings on a continuing basis were $4.99 billion, down 1% from last year's comparable figure of $5 billion. On an operating basis, Citigroup earned 97 cents a share, including expenses totaling 4 cents a share related to Hurricane Katrina. The Thomson First Call consensus estimate was for earnings of 99 cents a share. Total revenue of $21.5 billion was 15% above a year ago and beat the $20.47 billion consensus. Revenue gains at Citigroup were fueled by a 46% surge in revenue from fees and commissions to $4.83 billion. Citigroup CEO Charles Prince said the Katrina charge reflects "the credit implications of the economic dislocation and hardship our customers are experiencing." The bank's strong suit in the quarter was its corporate and investment banking division, which recorded a 24% gain in net income to $1.8 billion. Citigroup's investment bank reveled in the surprisingly strong quarter for initial public offerings and bond underwriting deals. The weak link was its global consumer bank, which accounts for more than half of Citi's revenue. Earnings from retail banking fell 13% to $2.7 billion, largely due to weakness in Citigroup's U.S. banking operation. Earnings in the U.S. retail banking operation fell 17% to $1.76 billion.