Dow Watch: Citigroup Refuses to Quit

Citigroup was the winner on the Dow Tuesday, up 5.5%. But aside from Citi, only three stocks climbed.
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Updated from 1:43 p.m. EDT

Just a Few Gainers

(

At 4:55 p.m. EDT

)

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

got it done. The bank's shares rose 5.5% Tuesday to end at $4.01, its first close above $4 since late January.

You know I can't stop you if you want to talk about a short squeeze, as our friends at

The Wall Street Journal

did. I'm not even saying you wouldn't have a point. I'm simply noting that the stock was up again. Going back to March 13, when it finished at $1.78, it's gained more than 100%. Since last Wednesday, it's advanced 49%.

If you saw value there, for whatever reason, and bought it you've done pretty well. The other side, not so much. These

new shares

may very well change the equation. For now though, it is what it is.

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On the whole, however, it was another setback for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

. The index lost 137.63 points, or 1.7%, to 7920.18, as 26 of its components retreated.

No reversal

this time.

Aside from Citi, only three stocks climbed --

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

,

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

.

Following the close,

Intel

said its first-quarter profit fell, though it did exceed estimates. If the company's right, PC sales bottomed in the quarter. For the second quarter, the chipmaker didn't offer much guidance, outside of saying it's planning for revenue to be basically flat with the first quarter's $7.1 billion. Shares were down 3.7% to $15.42 in the late session after closing at $16.01. If that weakness carries over it will be a drag on the Dow Wednesday.

As for the day's decliners, financials had the most pronounced pullbacks.

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

fell 9.9% to $18.43, while both

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

and

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

surrendered more than 8%.

So it wasn't the best day. Wasn't the worst, either. Until tomorrow, then. And don't read anything into that. I'm simply signing off.

Going the Wrong Way

(

At 1:35 p.m. EDT

)

The situation is worsening a bit for the

Dow

in the afternoon. With about two and a half hours left in the session, the index was down 128 points, or 1.6%, at 7930.

So what if we're up about 1,500 points since that March low? Wasn't the ascent better than the opposite? This downturn thing, even if it's moderate, just makes people nervous. Again, though, let's not rush to judgment. It's what happens when the clock's winding down that matters.

Only three of the industrials were showing gains.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

was the best on a percentage basis and the most heavily traded of the 30 Dow stocks, gaining 8.2% to $4.11.

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

and

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

were the other two names in the green.

The steepest decliners were two of Citi's fellow financial components,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

, each off about 5.8%.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

, which at one point hit $11.58, dropped back to $10.54, a loss of 4.4% on the day.

We've still got a way to go before this one's in the books. And

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

coming up after the close.

Citi Needs Help Here

(

At 10:35 a.m. EDT

)

We've got a

lot to digest

this morning, and the

Dow

was posting an early loss. I'll

check back in around 3:30 p.m.

to see how things shake out.

Of course, that's more of the fun-having, the kidding around. I know. The market is very serious. Not fun. Many exciting and crucial things have already happened, and more no doubt will take place between now and this afternoon that will require our undivided attention and close inspection. Preferably minute by minute.

Naturally, I don't want to be accused of being derelict, so I'll go ahead and try to get into what's influencing the market. And in case you're wondering, the industrials were recently down 49 points at 8008 -- a palindrome number, just for the record. It had been more than 100 points earlier.

After

Goldman's

(GS) - Get Report

big numbers

following the prior close

, I admit I was hopeful. Let us rejoice, I thought. Be more like

Ben Bernanke

. Didn't help much it turns out.

What's the problem?

Retail sales

were weak, and that's getting a good part of the blame. I understand all about being disappointed, but I'm not sure a decline should have been

really surprising

.

The financials on the Dow were mixed.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

was the big winner of the group, up 14.7% to $4.36. The last time Citi closed above $4 was Jan. 28.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

was gaining 2.5% at $11.29, overcoming this report about a regulatory review of the

Merrill Lynch bonuses

.

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

, let's call it a bank, was higher by 2.2% at $12.40.

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

, however, was down 3.4% at $32.56, and

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

was off 2.1% at $20.03 following a Stifel downgrade.

After its

quarterly results

,

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

was adding 2.2%, while

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

was tacking on 1.4% ahead of

its own numbers

.

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

and

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

, meanwhile, were down a little more than 1% each after getting hit with downgrades from Oppenheimer.

Just don't forget that many hours are left in the day, and much can change between now and the close.

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