Citigroup boosted profit more than analysts estimated after a cost-cutting push helped it weather a slump in trading.

First-quarter net income jumped 21% to $4.77 billion, or 1.51 cents a share, the firm said Thursday. Excluding accounting adjustments, earnings per share were $1.52, surpassing the $1.39 average estimate of 27 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Michael Corbat is focusing on targets for curbing costs and boosting returns after winning Federal Reserve approval to increase capital payouts to shareholders. In the fourth quarter, he sought to put much of the bank's expenses from probes, severance and office closures in the past by setting aside more than $3.5 billion. Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach has said the move would resolve a "significant portion" of the firm's legal burden.

"We tightly managed our expenses," Corbat, 54, said in a statement. "We are on track to hit our financial targets for the year."

First-quarter expenses dropped 10% to $10.9 billion. Legal and repositioning costs accounted for $403 million of that, down 65% from a year earlier.

The lender is still contending with investigations into money-laundering controls and rigging of interest rate and currency benchmarks. Its main banking subsidiary is under pressure to plead guilty to a felony in the foreign-exchange probe, two people briefed on the matter said earlier this month.

Total revenue excluding accounting adjustments fell 1.9% to $19.8 billion, in line with analysts' estimates.

Revenue from bond and equity trading, overseen by Paco Ybarra, dropped 9.5%, to $4.36 billion. Gerspach had predicted March 2 that it would fall by as much as a "high single-digit" percentage. The New York-based bank incurred more than $150 million in losses on the Swiss franc's surge in January, a person briefed on the matter said at the time.

Fixed-income, currencies and commodities trading revenue, excluding some accounting adjustments, slumped 11% from a year earlier to $3.48 billion, missing the $3.64 billion estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. At JPMorgan Chase & Co., the nation's largest bank, revenue from that business rose 4.5 % to $4.07 billion. At Bank of America Corp., it fell 7 % to $2.75 billion.

Citigroup's revenue from equities trading slipped 1%, to $873 million. That compares with JPMorgan's 22% jump to $1.61 billion, and Bank of America's 0.9% decline to $1.15 billion.

Net income at the institutional clients group rose 1.6 % to an adjusted $2.97 billion on revenue of $9.03 billion. The unit houses the bank's trading, corporate and investment banking, private bank, and transaction-services businesses. Investment banking revenue climbed 14 % to $1.2 billion.

Global consumer banking, led by Manuel Medina-Mora until his June 1 retirement, boosted net income 3.8 % to $1.73 billion.

Corbat picked Stephen Bird, a 17-year Citigroup veteran who most recently led the Asia-Pacific region, to succeed Medina-Mora. Bird will move to New York and seek to follow through on Corbat's plan to simplify and move two dozen markets onto a single technology system that gives a common consumer experience regardless of location.

Citi Holdings, the unwanted assets the bank has tagged for sale, earned $146 million. Assets fell 5.4% to $122 billion by the end of last month from the fourth quarter.

Citigroup's shares have declined 1.7 % this year, compared with a 1.3% decline in the Standard & Poor's 500 Financials Index. The stock rose 3.8% last year.

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