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NEW YORK (
) -- If recent history is any guide,
shares are in for a smackdown.
The stock may continue to see a little more upside after two days of gains, and Citi's announcement that it sold its Nikko Asset Management unit in Japan for about $1.3 billion may offer more support today.
But Citi stock has a way of resetting after every gain and has pretty much been unable to break out of a trading range between $3 and $4.
Don't believe me? Play the Citi Smackdown game (based on actual price history and news events) and you'll get the picture.
Unfortunately for shareholders, there are still too many issues ahead that could be troublesome for the market.
Having completed the conversion of preferred stock (including the government's holdings) for common stock, the arbitrage trading is now over. But the bank is seeking approval to issue 60 billion more shares if needed down the road. And many business units, in particular consumer loans, are still struggling.
Among the big banks, Citi remains the dog, with the stock down 52% for 2009.
is up 85% this year,
notched a 75% gain and
is closing in on a 20% increase.
Bank of America
, which right or wrong is frequently lumped into the same category as Citi as a TARP poster child, is only down 4% this year.
Citi shareholders have my sympathy. I don't like to see a stock get stuck in the tar like this.
I'd like to say something encouraging like "there's no where to go but up," but the truth is that Citi shares have proven that isn't true.
The stock may very well go down a few more times before a rally sticks.
--Written by Glenn Hall in New York.
Glenn Hall is the New York-based editor in chief of
. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at
The Orange County Register
and as a news manager at
in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at
in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
International Herald Tribune
. Hall received a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and a certificate in project and program management from Boston University.