Citigroup 'Awards' CEO $10.8 Million in 2008

Shares of Citigroup ( C) were up in early trading, as reports of the company CEO's 2008 compensation are just filtering out.

Vikram Pandit's compensation package included $958,333 in base salary, and no cash bonus.

The CEO also received $8.2 million in stock awards, and $1.6 million in stock option awards, along with some other miscellaneous compensation.

We will likely see some "interesting" feedback from this news release today. Many have questioned the point of leaving existing management in place throughout the bailout process. If today's headlines don't cause a stir, we would be surprised. Taxpayers just keep on paying up.

Citigroup is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.3 out of 5 stars.

Whole Foods Continues Momentum on Analyst Upgrade

Shares of Whole Foods ( WFMI) were up nearly 5% in early trading, after the company was upgraded to marketperform from underperform at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey.

The analyst believes the recent antitrust settlement with the Federal Trade Commission will be favorable for the company. The analyst sees full-year EPS in the range of 76 cents. The consensus is at for the company to earn 70 cents.

The stock does is sitting near overhead resistance at the $14 to $15 levels. If the upside can continue, we see the $17 to $20 range coming into play next. We do not rate this non-dividend paying stock at this time, but it is a company we follow closely.

Whole Foods no longer pays a dividend.

Insurers Up Despite Downgrade

Shares of Hartford Financial ( HIG) and Lincoln National ( LNC) were up in early trading, despite both companies being downgraded by Morgan Stanley.

Hartford Financial Services recently reported a fourth quarter loss of $806 million, and reduced its quarterly dividend to 5 cents from 32 cents. We see overhead resistance around the $8 to $10 level.

Lincoln National recently reported a fourth quarter loss of $505.5 million. We see initial overhead resistance in the $12 to $13 price area.

We have avoided shares of Hartford Financial since our early June coverage began, when the stock was trading at $71 a share. We had removed shares of Lincoln National back on Sept. 29, when the stock traded at $49. We would continue to look elsewhere for better investment opportunities at this time.

Neither company is on our "Recommended" list at this current time.

Occidental Petroleum Announces Bahrain Field Development Deal

Shares of Occidental Petroleum ( OXY) were down slightly in early trading, as the company announces it has signed an Interim Agreement with the National Oil and Gas Authority of Bahrain for the further development of the Bahrain Field.

Under this agreement, Occidental, Mubadala and NOGA will complete work on the formation of a new joint operating company that will implement a development plan to dramatically increase the Bahrain Field's production of both oil and gas.

During this interim phase, Oxy and Mubadala will continue to have exclusive rights to finalize negotiations on a twenty-year Development and Production Sharing Agreement for the Bahrain Field.

We had removed shares of Occidental from our "Recommended" list on July 24, when shares traded at $73.34. The company has a dividend yield of 2.34%, based on Friday night's closing stock price of $54.69. The stock has technical support in the $39 to $40 price area. If the stock can continue its recent rally, we see overhead resistance around the $59 to $60 level. We would remain on the sidelines for now.

Occidental Petroleum is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system.
At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.

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