Not without reason, however: first nowhere, average everywhere, too geographically diversified, Citi remains by far the least profitable of its peers - JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
By way of comparison, current discount levels are higher than those observed three years ago, at the height of the pandemic panic. Even European banks are doing better!
In other words, investors are giving only modest credence to the restructuring plan put forward by Jane Fraser, recently appointed head of Citi. Even with the best will in the world, she will have a hard time erasing two decades of chronic underperformance.
That said, all its business segments were stable this quarter. Consolidated profit rose by 22%, less than JPMorgan or Wells Fargo, but solvency ratios were in the black and deposits were no lower than elsewhere.
In contrast to its two peers, Citi recorded a more pronounced rise in defaulted loans this quarter: up 9% on the previous quarter, and up 85% on the same time last year - but then there was a powerful distortion linked to the economic support plan.
Over the last decade, Citi's equity value per share has risen by 68%, at an annualized rate of 5.3%. With business largely stagnant over the period, this expansion is primarily due to massive share buybacks.
Remarkably, this quarter Citi distinguished itself from its peers by the alarmist tone of its communications to investors. Jane Fraser and her team warned that they were seeing the first signs of recession, and that next year was already looking complicated.