A wipeout in its equity derivatives business helped push Citigroup's investment bank into the red, presaging grim news for staff awaiting their bonuses.
It reported results yesterday that missed even analysts' reduced forecasts and suggested Citigroup is suffering more deeply than most from the malaise affecting investment banking.
Its miserable results came a day before Goldman Sachs reports its latest quarterly numbers, and amid reports that another rival, Morgan Stanley, has told staff immediate cash bonuses will be capped at $125,000 (£81,400).
Like other Wall Street bosses, Vikram Pandit, Citigroup's chief executive since 2007, put the blame on the macro-economic environment and in particular the eurozone debt crisis. But the figures showed that his bank's problems extended beyond the bond-trading desks which have been hurting all across the industry.
Citigroup's fixed-income revenues fell 25 per cent, year-on-year, in the final quarter of 2010, but equity trading revenues slumped 71 per cent. The securities and banking division as a whole, which encompasses trading and deal advisory work, produced 29 per cent less revenue in the quarter and ended $163m in the red.
In early trading on Wall Street, the shares fell more than 5 per cent.