How Will This FINRA Penalty Affect Citigroup (C) Stock Today?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Citigroup  (C) rose Tuesday after the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority demanded the bank pay a $2.5 million in fines and restitution.

FINRA said Citigroup's markets unit did not give customers the best possible prices on approximately 22,000 transactions tied to certain securities. FINRA also said the unit had unsatisfactory supervisory procedures. The authority ordered the bank to pay $1.85 million in fines and more than $638,000 in restitution.

The stock was up 1.38% to $52.34 at 10:54 a.m. in the wake of the settlement announcement.

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Separately, 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 some important positives, 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 sub par growth in net income."

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 11.7%. 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 -103.68%.
  • 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. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: C Ratings Report

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Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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