Bank of America and Citigroup both posted estimate-topping profits today, but neither inspired much confidence, the New York Times reports. Both numbers hinged on one-time gains from asset sales. In Bank of America’s case, earnings fell 5.5% to $3.22 billion, a number propped up by the sale of its stake in a big Chinese bank. Citigroup pulled in $4.28 billion, but only because it sold off part of Smith Barney.
Citi’s 49 cents per share was especially surprising—analysts had expected it to lose 18 cents per share. But the company’s investment revenues actually dropped 7%; without the one-time Smith Barney deal, it would have lost millions. Its operating costs fell, because it shed 30,000 jobs. The results stand in sharp contrast with those of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, which posted excellent quarterly reports earlier this week.