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Bank on Citigroup Despite Reduced Earnings Estimates

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Citigroup (C - Get Report) , the third-largest bank in the U.S. by total assets, will report third-quarter earnings results before the opening bell Thursday. And it would seem, based on the stock's 8% decline in the past three months, that investors are getting anxious about what the New York-based money-center bank might reveal. But the situation isn't as dire as it might appear.

True, Citigroup, whose shares are down 5% year-to-date at around $51, has seen its consensus earnings per share estimate for the just-ended quarter decline more than 2% in the past seven days, from $1.35 a share to $1.32. Also during that span, consensus estimates for the quarter ending in December and for the fiscal year have both been reduced by a penny.

But investors would do well to focus more on what these estimates mean. Even with the lack of confidence implied by the reduced estimates...