NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Citigroup Inc. (C) is considering the sale of its retail banking business in Japan, where it has had a presence for decades as a leading Western bank, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
The bank is considering a possible auction to sell the retail business, sources added.
Must Read: Warren Buffett's 25 Favorite Stocks
The move would leave Citigroup to focus on its remaining businesses in Japan: corporate banking, investment banking and trading. Japanese loan growth has remained weak recently, amid interest rates close to zero, the Journal said.
Shares of Citigroup are up 0.77% to $49.89.
TheStreet Ratings team rates CITIGROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate CITIGROUP INC (C) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- 40.66% is the gross profit margin for CITIGROUP INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, C's net profit margin of 0.78% significantly trails the industry average.
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 11.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
- CITIGROUP INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CITIGROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.25 versus $2.46 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 16.5% in earnings ($3.55 versus $4.25).
- Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $2,012.00 million or 89.95% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow CITIGROUP INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -103.82%.
- In its most recent trading session, C has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Despite the decline in its share price over the last year, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays compensate for this.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: C Ratings Report