Updated from 1:03 p.m. EDTHot on the heels of the February restructuring that gave the U.S. government 36% of Citigroup ( C), more plans are being hatched to stabilize the bank, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's all off-the-record stuff with no sources named, and it's supposedly worst-case scenario planning -- just in case something unexpectedly bad happens. No one is saying they expect something bad to happen. The unnamed U.S. officials just want to be ready. Meanwhile, Citi CEO Vikram Pandit tried to reassure his staff Monday that everything is fine, except the bank's share price of $1 and change. Citi's worth much more than that, according to Pandit, and the bank has been profitable in the first two months of 2009. So don't read too much into all this chatter about another rescue initiative. It's all good. If there was something to tell, you can rest assured that you'll find out eventually. You know, after it's been done and the government completely controls Citi and whatever shares you own are worth even less. Forgive me for being pessimistic, but this bank doesn't exactly inspire confidence these days.
While Citi's stock is rising today -- closing 38.1% higher at $1.45 -- it remains among the cheapest of the major banks. Bank of America ( BAC) closed at $4.79, a gain of 27.7%, Wells Fargo ( WFC) added 18.5% to close at $11.81, U.S. Bancorp ( USB) rose 11.9% to close at $11.40 and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) closed 22.6% higher at $19.50.Traders on our sister site, Stockpickr.com, say Citi's stock is no better than a lottery ticker. In fact, one investor said it's more like a discarded scratch-off lottery stub that shows it's already a loser. So it's not just me, folks. If the government thinks it's wise to be ready for the worst, investors should be too.