Citigroup Inc.'s first-quarter profit more than doubled from a year earlier as the giant bank saw increased revenue and stepped back into the black after a fourth-quarter hiccup.

"We are proud of our first-quarter results but remain cautious about the environment, given the uncertain economic recovery and high unemployment in the U.S.," said Chief Executive Vikram Pandit. "Realistically, we do not expect our performance to follow an invariable trend-line upward."

Shares were up 0.7% to $4.60 premarket. As of Friday's close, the stock had risen 25% in the past year.

Citi's loss in the fourth quarter, although significantly narrowed from a year earlier, snapped a string of three straight quarterly profits. The far-flung bank, which was slammed by its exposure to bad consumer loans, is now working to reduce its government shadow and sell off peripheral businesses, focusing on its core of investment banking and global consumer and business banking.

Citi reported a profit of $4.43 billion, or 15 cents a share, from a profit of $1.59 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 3.7% to $25.42 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had most recently forecast break-even results on $20.77 billion in revenue.

Provisions for loan losses were $8.62 billion, down 16% from the prior year and up 5.3% from the prior quarter. Net credit losses rose to $8.38 billion from $7.28 billion and $7.13 billion, respectively.

Revenue and charge-offs for the quarter were both higher partly because of an accounting change that pulled card loans onto the balance sheet.

Meanwhile, Citi's securities and banking arm saw revenue decline 34% as profit fell 48%, contrasting with strong investment-banking results reported last week at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp.

Citi Holdings, which includes the assets the company is in the process of unloading, saw its loss from continuing operations narrow significantly to $876 million from $5.49 billion.

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