Citigroup: Financial Winners and Losers

( Updated with stock price moves, Cuomo settlement with Citigroup, SunTrust ratings change.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citigroup ( C) was among the winners of the financial sector Monday following a report the bank was considering a sale of its private-equity unit.

Citigroup plans to sell or split off its $10 billion Citi Private Equity unit as part of the bank's effort to reduce debt, according to a Bloomberg report. The unit's managers have discussed buying Citi Private Equity themselves along with new partners or with other financing, the report said.

Bloomberg also reports that other money-management units marked for sale or closure include the Citi Property Investors real-estate unit, which oversees $12.5 billion, and the Hedge Fund Management Group, which allocates money to hedge funds on behalf of its own investors.

Citi

In addition, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo came to an agreement with Citigroup where the bank will alter its plan to charge over one million consumers nationwide with fees on what were supposed to be "free checking" accounts. Any free checking created between Jan. 1, 2009 and Nov. 5, 2009 will have their free checking extended for the remainder of 2010. All consumers who meet the original conditions they signed up for will continue to get no per-check fees until Jan. 31, 2011.

Citigroup shares were lately up 2 cents, or 0.5%, to $3.34.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was on the rise despite a Financial Times report that its proposed acquisition of RBS Sempra's global commodities trading business has hit some snags.

JPMorgan is concerned about buying the group's American division after President Obama announced that U.S. banks might one day be banned from engaging in proprietary trading, industry insiders told the newspaper. The U.S. division of RBS Sempra's commodities operations could be put up for sale separately to avoid any possible restrictions put in place by the Obama administration, The Financial Times added.

JPMorgan shares were lately climbing by 0.8% to $39.27.

Among other bank stocks, Bank of America ( BAC) rose 0.7% to $15.28, and Wells Fargo ( WFC) gained 0.4% to $28.55.

Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs ( GS) advanced 2.6% to $152.62 even after U.K.'s The Times reported that CEO Lloyd Blankfein could earn a bonus of up to $100 million, citing unidentified bankers at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Marketwatch reported separately that a Goldman spokesman called the $100 million figure "speculative nonsense."

Rival Morgan Stanley ( MS) climbed 2.6% to $27.47.

Some regional bank stocks were higher after Credit Suisse analyst said investors should continue to overweight the regional banks following strong overall results in the fourth quarter. While expectations for 2010 were low -- and are a little higher now - commercial and industrial lending "could provide further upside."

Fifth Third Bancorp ( FITB) and First Horizon National ( FHN) remain top picks, Credit Suisse analysts said.

Among regional bank names trading higher Monday, Regions Financial ( RF) rose 3.8%, Zions Bancorp ( ZION) advanced 3.8%, KeyCorp ( KEY) was up 1.4%, BB&T ( BBT) gained 0.5%, and Fifth Third was trading flat.

On the other hand, First Horizon shares were down 1.2% to $12.80.

SunTrust Bank ( STI) lost ground after Standard & Poor's Ratings lowered its counterparty credit ratings on the bank holding company to BBB/A-2 from BBB+/A-2, and on banking subsidiary SunTrust Bank to BBB+/A-2 from A-/A-2. The outlook is stable.

"We expect that preprovision earnings will be insufficient to cover expected credit losses in 2010," S&P analysts wrote in a research note. "SunTrust's continued access to the capital markets is important to offset any capital erosion from ongoing credit losses."

SunTrust shares slumped 1.1% to $24.07.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.

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