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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week

Behind the Music
That free iPod could cost big bucks

3. Hot Child in the Citigroup

It's so cool, we think, when the people at financial giant Citigroup (C) reach out to the Youth Market.

Until we realize that the reason Citigroup is reaching out is to get a firmer grip on the Youth Market's wallet.

We call your attention to the huge promotional offer from Citibank inviting people to get a free Apple (AAPL) iPod portable music player by opening up a Citibank account.

"Citibank Online rocks!" reads Citibank's online offer. "Get your money rockin' n rollin' with a Citibank EZ Checking account today."

Sounds awesome to us! Except of course, for the fine print in the ad, which explains that if we don't abide by the conditions of the agreement -- which involve paying at least two bills online a month for 12 months in a row -- Citibank is free to deduct $249.95 "from any account you may have with Citibank and any of its affiliates without first trying to obtain payment through any other means."

Harsh! You know, dude, maybe we'll just settle for a toaster.

4. Nortel Me Something Good

But Wall Street wasn't completely harsh this week, thanks to Nortel Networks (NT).

After several false starts, the Canadian telecom gearmaker released on Tuesday its long-awaited restated results for 2003. As expected, a report accompanying the restatements indicated there was a certain hanky-panky element to the company's original numbers -- inflated numbers that resulted in bonuses all around.

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