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5 Stocks Hedge Funds Hate -- But Should You?

Citigroup

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It's official: Hedge fund managers hate Citigroup (C) right now.

In total, the group sold off 53.17 million shares of the big bank, cutting their total positions in the firm by a third, and helping to drop the market value of their holdings in Citi by $3 billion. Bear in mind that Citigroup is a big $100 billion behemoth that's one of the biggest constituents of stock indices like the S&P 500. Hedge funds' decision to sell off a third of their collective shares is a big deal.

>>5 Bank Stocks Bernanke Can't Hurt Anymore

But it's an understandable one. Even though the big banks have found a much more stable footing in the last few years, Citi and its peers still sport balance sheets that are more like black holes than they are investor valuation tools. Citi has found some solace in the growth of its emerging markets business. The firm's Indian-born CEO, Vikram Pandit, has been pointing Citi's lending in developing countries (especially markets in Asia and Latin America), and to good effect. The influx of attractive risk-adjusted returns on a loan book that's been ravaged by write-offs is nice. But is it nice enough right now?

Ultimately, I'd argue that Citi is probably the second-most attractive of the big banks, after Wells Fargo (WFC) -- but that doesn't mean you should buy it. The second best pile of dirt is still a pile of dirt.

Citigroup, which shows up on a list of 5 Banks to Consider as Options Plays, was also featured in "Top 5 Bargain Stocks of the S&P 500."

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