NEW YORK — Citigroup isn’t as enthusiastic as its peers about a comeback in the housing market.
On Friday, executives at Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase declared that the long-struggling market had turned a corner. On Monday, Citigroup’s top number-cruncher said he wasn’t so sure.
In a conference call with reporters after the bank released its quarterly earnings, chief financial officer John Gerspach cautioned that recent history is littered with upturns in the housing market that proved short-lived. “I don’t use phrases like ‘turn the corner,’” Gerspach said, referring to statements Friday from JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Wells Fargo finance chief Tim Sloan. “I have difficulty seeing corners sometimes, so I’m not sure what corner we may have turned.”
“There’s still a question in my mind about whether we’ve got a strong enough economy to continue sustaining the housing market,” he added.
Citigroup reported earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, after stripping out one-time items like a big write-down it had to take because it got less money than it had hoped when it negotiated to sell its stake in its retail brokerage.