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Citigroup Ends Week on High Note

Citigroup shares ended the week up 3.4% and closed above $4 for the first time since late May while CEO Vikram Pandit made an appearance at an investor conference in Russia.



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finished above $4 on Friday for the first time since May 27.

The stock traded in a tight range in Friday's session and closed at its high for the day of $4.01, with roughly 660 million shares changing hands. While the volume was below Citigroup's normal daily trading average, much of the trading came near the close of the session.

One reason for the surge in volume is the quarterly rebalancing of Standard & Poor's indices. Because of the government's sale of a portion of its massive stake in Citigroup in the past few months,


Bob Pisani estimates managers of index funds had to add around 329 million Citigroup shares.

The stock ended the week up 3.4%.

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, after making a presentation in Russia at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, told


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on Friday that the company has come a long way since he took the helm in late 2007.

"We still have work to do in Citi Holdings and we continue to chip away," Pandit said. "But now the story is turning to our core earnings story -- this is about Citicorp not about Citi Holdings."

He added that the bank is "back to doing what we should be doing" even though "the volumes are different," as the markets are still volatile.

"We may have gotten the crisis behind us, but we haven't gotten all the economic issues," out of the way, he said.

Pandit said that the Volcker rule does really not apply to Citigroup because speculative trading is not part of its core business.

"The question on the Volcker Rule is a proprietary trading question, and that relates to should you take that capital away from what is necessary to make loans to corporations or help them with other capital commitments and put it for use for your own account as proprietary trade?" Pandit said. "We do that in a very small way and frankly its not core to our business."

Pandit's comments come after media reports said that Citigroup was preparing to raise more than $3 billion for private equity and hedge funds, which would include the use of some of its own money. The decision to bulk up its

alternative investments

presence comes just as Washington is working through the details of extensive financial reform legislation that is likely to limit the ability of big banks to participate in this type of investing.

Year-to-date, Citigroup shares are still up about 20%, but they are well off the near-term intraday surges above $5 that occurred as recently as April 21.

Citigroup is expected to report its second-quarter results on July 16 and the average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

is for a profit of 6 cents a share in the three months ending in June on revenue of $22.38 billion.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.