Citigroup Divides Analysts

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --  Citigroup ( C) is shaping up to be one of the more polarizing stocks going into the fourth quarter earnings season, which gets under way next week.

On Monday, Citi got a pair of price target hikes from two veteran analysts. Sandler O'Neill's Jeff Harte and Barclays Capital's Jason Goldberg. Goldberg also hiked target prices on other big banks, including Wells Fargo (WFC), US Bancorp (USB), Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), while lifting both his recommendation and price target on Huntington Bancshares (HBAN). Harte, on the other hand, just focused on Citi.

Harte raised his target on Citigroup to $60 from $56, while Goldberg upped his target to $60 from $58, according to Bloomberg data. The accompanying reports could not be obtained. Citigroup shares were up by 0.75% to $53.80 in early trading on Monday, while shares of other big banks, including JPMorgan and Bank of America showed similar gains.

But Deutsche Bank analyst Matt O'Connor came out with a report on Monday citing Citi, along with JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley (MS), as the bank stock where he was furthest below consensus in his fourth quarter earnings projections. In all three cases, O'Connor predicts litigation costs and weak trading in the fixed income currencies and commodities divisions will cause a bigger drag on earnings than analysts are already expecting.

O'Connor sees Citi earning just $0.92 per share, vs. a Bloomberg consensus of $1.05 and a Thomson Reuters consensus of $1.06. Citigroup will report earnings ahead of the bell on Jan. 16.

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-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

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