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Citigroup: Financial Winner

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citigroup (C - Get Report) was the winner among the largest U.S. financial names on Monday, with shares rising over 4% to close at $28.56.

The broad indexes continued to rise after Friday's rally, which followed the Labor Department's announcement that nonfarm payrolls rose by 163,000 in July, which was way ahead of the 100,000 new jobs expected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and the largest monthly employment growth number since February.

UBS economist Maury Harris said that "although payrolls posted solid gains, the drop in labor force participation and the modest uptick in the unemployment rate, if sustained, may make it more difficult for the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee to hold off on further easing." On the other hand, Harris said that "away from the headline numbers, we see some cause for optimism that labor market trends could allow the Fed to hold off on easing in September."

The biggest banking splash of the day was made by the New York State Department of Financial Services, which ordered the New York branch of Standard Chartered Bank to appear on August 15 in front of Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky "demonstrate why SCB‟s license to operate in the State of New York should not be revoked," after the bank was accused of having "designed and implemented an elaborate scheme by which to use its New York branch as a front for prohibited dealings with Iran - dealings that indisputably helped sustain a global threat to peace and stability."

In a 27-page order, New York State regulators said that Standard Chartered Bank "schemed with the Government of Iran and hid from regulators roughly 60,000 secret transactions, involving at least $250 billion, and reaping SCB hundreds of millions of dollars in fees."

In addition to having a representative of the bank appear before the superintendent and explain its actions, the bank was ordered to "submit to and pay for an independent, on-premises monitor of the Department's selection to ensure compliance with rules governing the international transfer of funds."

In its unusually colorful regulatory order, the New York State Department of Financial Services said that after Standard Chartered Bank's CEO for the Americas sent a "panicked message to the Group Executive Director in London" saying that the bank's business with Iran needed "urgent reviewing at the Group level to evaluate if its returns and strategic benefits are . . . still commensurate with the potential to cause very serious or even catastrophic reputational damage to the Group," the Group Director "caustically replied: 'You f---ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we're not going to deal with Iranians.'"

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