Why Citigroup Is Up and Down Today

Hard on the heels of a tumultuous two weeks, with the big four thrown into general turmoil by Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC  ) first-quarter earnings miss, Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) began the day in the red, was climbing into the green, and is right now down 0.23%.

A successful shareholder meeting last week is helping to put the superbank back on track, even if it's not entirely obvious in the marketplace today.

Big four roundup
But before we get into that, let's have quick look at where Citi's big-four peers are starting off a new week of trading:

  • B of A is down 0.16%, and also can't quite make up its mind today.
  • Bucking the trend, JPMorgan Chase is up by 0.05%.
  • Following the trend, Wells Fargo is down 0.11% on the day, though it too has been jumping around.

You like me, you really do
At last Wednesday's annual meeting, Citi shareholders voted 90% in favor of an $11.25 million pay package for CEO Michael Corbat. Politicians of every stripe love to claim a mandate when they get anything much over 50% of the vote. 90%? Now that's a mandate.

Corbat has shown himself to be a different kind of CEO than Vikram Pandit, who "resigned" his position last October after chairman Michael O'Neill engineered a coup against him. And shareholders obviously approve:

  • After an impressive performance on the 2013 stress tests, Corbat didn't seek permission from the Federal Reserve to increase the bank's dividend, though he could easily have gotten it. The bank needs to keep building its strength more than it needs to return money to shareholders. Corbat knows that, but could have chosen to curry favor with investors by increasing the dividend.
  • At the shareholder meeting itself, Corbat wouldn't bow to investor pressure to wind down Citi Holdings any faster than it already is. Citi Holdings is Citigroup's "bad bank," created in the wake of the financial crisis to hold toxic assets and non-core lines of business. Corbat told investors he would not "destroy our capital simply for the sake of speed." 

I think shareholders know a good thing when they see it. Corbat keeps making the right decisions, which is money in the bank for him, and money in the bank for shareholders -- even if they do have to be more than a little patient.

And if the market is being indecisive today, and not rewarding good behavior, or just being indifferent to it, that's the way it goes sometimes. The market is always on the move: up one day and down the next.

So don't put too much stock on these short-term gyrations, Foolish readers. Keep an eye on the fundamentals of the companies you're invested in and stay focused on the long term.

Looking for in-depth analysis on Citi?
If so, look no further than our new premium report on the superbank. In it Matt Koppenheffer -- The Motley Fool's senior bankg analyst -- will fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Citigroup. 'll also clue you in on what areas investors need to watch going forward. For instant access to Matt's personal take on Citi, simply click here now.

 


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