NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Citigroup (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report were flat in early morning trading Friday after a federal judge ruled that the bank cannot process interest payments from Argentina on some bonds issued under the laws of the South American nation.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan ruled Thursday that Citigroup cannot process the interest payments on an estimated $2.3 billion in so-called dollar-denominated exchange bonds because doing so would violate a mandate that Argentina treat bondholders equally.
The ruling is a blow to Argentina, which is short on cash as it tries to re-enter international debt markets.
Griesa's ruling upheld his July 28, 2014 order that stopped Citigroup from processing the payments on the bonds.
Citigroup asked the judge on Thursday night not to enforce his decision while the bank appeals the ruling. The company is concerned about "catastrophic consequences" for its Citibank unit if it does not process a $3.7 million payment scheduled for March 31, according to Reuters.
Insight from TheStreet's Research Team:
Banks are in the news today due to the results of the second phase of the Federal Reserve's stress tests. In this phase of the tests, the Fed is grading the banks based on their capital plans. I thought it would be interesting to grade some of the key participants on their technicals, to see if the results match.
The cleanest bill of health was given to Citigroup's capital plan, which involves raising its dividend for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008 and buying back as much as $7.8 billion worth of stock. Citi failed to make the cut last year, but longs are breathing a sigh of relief today.
Citigroup broke through bullish trendline support earlier this week, falling on heavy volume. However, today's pop puts Citi right back into its bullish channel. The move also negates a sell signal given earlier by Citi's moving average convergence-divergence indicator (MACD), replacing it with a buy signal today. Citigroup is now less than 4% below its post-crisis, reverse-split adjusted high of $56.37. Technical Grade: B+; will upgrade to an A if Citi can close above $56.37.
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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."
You can view the full analysis from the report here: C Ratings Report