Analyst: Citigroup Stock Is a "Near-Term Liability"

An unwinding of optimism could put more pressure on the shares

Deputy Editor
Mar 7, 2022 at 10:07 AM
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The shares of Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) are down 3.8% at $54.47 at last check, pacing for their third-straight loss, after Jefferies downgraded the bank stock to "hold" from "buy." The brokerage firm, which also cut its price target to $60 from $79, said that the company's new financial targets seems unlikely to be met in the given time frame, as Citigroup stock could be a "potential near-term liability" amid the volatile geopolitical crisis in Ukraine.

On the charts, C has failed to impress for quite some time. The equity has managed just three positive months in the last year, bringing its year-over-year deficit to 22.9%. Today's negative price actions has the stock sitting below the $55 level for the first time since late 2020.

Analyst sentiment, meanwhile, is mostly negative, but there's still room for brokerages to follow Jeffries' lead. Heading into today, six covering brokerages called Citigroup stock a "strong buy," while eight said "hold." Meanwhile, the 12-month consensus price target of $74.77 is a 38.2% premium to current levels. 

Options traders have leaned bullish recently, and an unwinding of this optimism could push the shares lower still. This is per Citigroup stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.80, which sits in the 13th percentile of its 12-month range, meaning short-term options traders have been a lot more call-biased than usual of late. 


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