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Bank of America: 2011 Bank Stock Stinker

Stocks in this article: BAC C MS USB COF GS

Interested in more on Goldman Sachs? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

Shares of Citigroup (C) closed at $26.31 Friday, for a year-to-date decline of 44%, adjusting for the 1-for-10 reverse split on May 6.

Despite the lousy performance of the shares, there's quite a bit of analyst support for Citigroup, with 15 rating the stock a buy, while five analysts are on the fence and two recommend selling the shares.

The company ranked highest among TheStreet's 10 New York Bank Stocks With Most Upside for 2012, based on analysts' consensus price targets.

CEO Vikram Pandit has continued to patiently trim the company's balance sheet by winding-down non-core assets.

In his 2012 U.S. banking industry outlook report last week, Sterne Agee analyst Todd Hagerman said that Citi was his firm's "speculative Buy recommendation in the sector with the bad news effectively discounted in the stock at current levels," and that although "the company's outsized international exposure will continue to weigh on the shares, at least near term," and that following the next round of Federal Reserve stress tests in January, a "meaningful positive inflection point on the stock will likely occur in March," with an announcement of a capital return to investors through increased dividends and/or share buybacks.

Interested in more on Citigroup? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

Morgan Stanley (MS) was another major loser during 2011, with shares also declining 44% to close Friday at $15.13.

Following on his theme for a "weak and messy" fourth quarter for investment banks, Richard Staite estimates that Morgan will post a 51-cent fourth-quarter loss, springing from the company's $1.8 billion settlement with MBIA (MBI) over claims related to credit default swaps on commercial mortgage-backed securities.

Staite is neutral on the shares, predicting a mediocre 2012 return on equity of 6.6% for Morgan Stanley, and estimating 2012 earnings from continuing operations of $1.81 a share.

Credit Suisse analyst Howard Chen on Dec. 13 called the MBIA exposure Morgan Stanley's "single largest legacy issue," and said the settlement "improves Morgan Stanley's capital flexibility, accelerating the firm's Basel III readiness at a critical moment heading into the 2012 Fed CCAR submission," referring to the capital plan the company must submit for the Federal Reserve's annual stress tests, by Jan. 7, 2012.

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