Citigroup: Tread Very Carefully

10/20/17

Thus far banks that have reported earnings have exceeded expectations. One bank stock that continues to move higher with the sector, but has many more vocal bears, is Citigroup (C). We have been asked about the name following coverage of competitors. As the stock approaches the $80 level, we are growing more cautious on the name, despite a strong earnings report. However, as interest rates rise all banks stand to gain. That said, we prefer to see you in either JPMorgan Chase (JPM), or in Bank of America (BAC), for reasons outlined by Quad 7 Capital previously, in our featured ‘must read’ of the week, and in a Seeking Alpha article yesterday. The reason? The fundamentals of the latter banks are stronger than those of Citigroup. To be clear, we are not bearish. We simply believe Citigroup is one of the least desirable houses in a great neighborhood. In this article, we will discuss several key metrics that support suggest the bank is improving, but there is much work to be done. While rising rates will be a huge benefit to the name in the long run, we believe the bank is facing pressure on some key metrics that you must be aware of. In other areas however, it is outperforming the best-of-breed banks. This is why we remain cautiously bullish, and think you should tread carefully. Very carefully, until we have more clarity. Let us discuss.

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