Citigroup reported higher earnings and revenue on Monday, beating analysts' expectations and notching a higher share price on a day when the rest of the stock market fell.
But executives were cautious, warning that it would be tough to continue to grow revenue in an environment of low interest rates and uncertain legal costs. The U.S. consumer, they added, doesn't seem strong enough to drive an economic revival.
"Although this was a good start for 2013, the environment remains challenging and we're sure to be tested as we go through the year ahead," CEO Mike Corbat said in a call with analysts.
This excerpt from the analyst call has been edited for clarity and length:
QUESTION: A final question is just on the cautious commentary. Mike said something like, 'we're sure to be tested.' I'm just wondering if there's anything specific that he's looking at there that is giving him pause?
ANSWER (CEO Corbat): You can just look at growth rates around the world and continue to see the world's a very uneven place. Growth rates in the emerging markets are around 5 percent, growth rates in the developed market space around 1 percent. And you can see the volatility in reactions, whether it's to slowing growth in China this morning or whether it was Cyprus issues. I think the world continues to be somewhat of a fragile place and I expect the markets to remain volatile.