Is Citi riding on hopes and prayers?

Investors are waiting for this stock to surge, but the performance just isn't there.

By Jim Van Meerten Dec 9, 2009 5:58PM

Citigroup (C) has been one of the most actively traded stocks recently, with as many as 500 million shares a day trading hands. So much interest, but is it all just a hope and a prayer?

 

Citi is a leading global financial-services company with 200 million customer accounts. Major brand names under the company's trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney and Banamex.


Lately, Citi's stock has gone nowhere. According to BarChart, the stock has advanced only five times in the past 65 days, and then for only a 0.52% gain. Flat, to say the least. BarChart's technical indicators show 12 of 13 sell signals, for an overall sell rating of 88%.

With stats like that, why is everyone so high on this stock?


Of the 20 Wall Street analysts following it, 17 rate it a hold or buy. Only three recommend a sell or underperform.


Wall Street Survivor has a 5/5 Survivor Sentiment rating and over on Motley Fool, CAPS members are voting 7,190 to 1,756 that the stock will outperform the market. Even the CAPS All Stars vote 1,328 to 438. They agree with the 34 Wall Street columnists the Fool follows who favor it 32 to 2. How do you say self-fulfilling prophesy?

I'm sorry, but when I invest in a stock, it has to be both popular and technically sound. I don't feel that way with Citi. I'm not sure which bank will perform best and survive in this recovery, but there seem to be a lot of people who think Citi is one of the best.

 

I'm going to be different and pass on this one.

If you just have to invest in a bank, go for a financially sound regional or, if you can't make up your mind, try an ETF like IShares Dow Jones US Regional Banks (IAT).

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes about financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment here or email FinancialTides@gmail.com.

Disclosure: No positions in this stock at time of publication.

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