Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Citigroup Follows the Old Testament

"If any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." Exodus 21:23,24,25

Citigroup (C) on Monday enacted its own revenge on the industry that has downgraded, maligned and otherwise dismissed it the past three months.

Cutting a swath through the sector Citi:

*Downgraded three stocks to "Sell" from "Hold" -- Comerica (CMA), M&T Bank (MTB) and US Bancorp (USB).

*Cut price targets on Dallas-based Comerica to $35 from $53, M&T's to $78 from $113 and US Bancorp to $29 from $35.

*Reduced ratings to "Hold" from "Buy" on Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan (JPM), Wachovia (WB), Wells Fargo (WFC), PNC Financial (PNC) and First Horizon National (FHN).

* Lowered price targets on Bank of America, to $42 from $58, JPMorgan's to $46 from $57, Wachovia to $39 from $50, PNC to $65 from $80, Wells Fargo's to $31 from $33, First Horizon's to $20 from $29, Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) to $25 from $33. Keycorp (KEY) to $23 from $34, Suntrust Banks (STI)to $63 from $78 and finally National City (NCC) to $15 from $25.

As a matter of fact, Citi hit virtually every major bank except, well, Citi.

The banks play this game with each other and for that reason, anytime the upgrade or downgrade each other it needs to be looked at very skeptically.

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