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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Citigroup (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Reportare higher by 0.76% to $52.82 in mid-morning trading Monday, after the company struck a deal with Costco Wholesale (COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report to replace American Express (AXP) - Get American Express Company Report as the exclusive issuer for the wholesaler's credit cards in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The retailer's transactions will be processed by Visa (V) - Get Visa Inc. Class A Report, starting April 1, 2016.

Earlier this month, Costco and AmEx said they failed to reach a deal to renew their exclusive U.S. partnership that is set to expire next year.

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Last week, TheStreet's Jim Cramer said people did not know how important this relationship was. The American Express conference call mentioned Costco, but it turns out the retailer is much more responsible for a lot of the card growth, especially overseas card growth, than people realized.

The U.S. Costco business currently accounts for about 20% of AmEx's loans and 10% of its cards, Bloomberg reports.

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Issaquah, WA-based Costco currently operates 671 warehouses, including 474 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

New York City-based Citigroup is a financial services holding company engaged in providing financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services and wealth management to consumers, corporations, governments and institutions.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates CITIGROUP INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate CITIGROUP INC (C) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed, some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 1537.12% to $27,291.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CITIGROUP INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 303.10%.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 4.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CITIGROUP INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for CITIGROUP INC is rather low; currently it is at 22.63%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 1.66% significantly trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: C Ratings Report