Here's Why Citi's All Over the Place Today

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While most of the market is recovering from yesterday's downward swing, Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) is still struggling to make it back into positive territory. At 10 a.m. EDT, Citi is trading at a 0.44% loss so far. It's been a tough couple of weeks for the bank after it reported surprisingly great first-quarter earnings, so what gives?

First things first -- immediately following the bank's earnings report, its shares rose 4% in trading thanks to a 30% increase in profits, among other improvements. But two days later, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) underwhelmed the Street and most of the Big Four banks dropped pretty rapidly on the trading boards. After a week, investors came back to the banks and remembered that analyst expectations are not everything when it comes to earnings and brought Citi back to its post-earnings highs.

Back to today
So now that we've got our history straight, what's going on today? The only Citi-centric news this morning is that today is the bank's ex-dividend date. Investors that buy shares today are not eligible to receive the paltry $0.01 per share dividend from Citi on May 24. It would be surprising if investors stayed away simply because they wanted that penny so badly, so we must once again conclude that the bank is simply moving with the crowd.

Good news all around
Shares have swung in both directions so far this morning, but positive economic news may have the bank gaining as trading continues. After disappointing news sunk the market yesterday, there's a bevvy of good reports that could bring it all back around.

In anticipation of tomorrow's big employment report, investors should be happy this morning with both the Challenger Job Cut report and the weekly jobless claims report. Both noted that the past reporting period saw a drop in cuts and new claims. Employers announced fewer job cuts in April, a 23% decrease from March, with pharmaceutical and retail companies bucking the trend. Jobless claims were down to a five-year low, giving hope that the recent slowing of the economic recovery hasn't resulted in big job losses.

So, what's an investor to think?
It's great that good economic news can push Citi and other stocks back into positive territory. But it's important to keep in mind that the opposite can be just as true. As a Foolish investor, you want to keep in mind that tracking daily moves can be hazardous to your wealth. With the added stress of watching your shares plummet or rise without cause from the business itself, it's hard to keep track of the true movements that matter. Keep your eye on the ball by noting which headlines or tidbits of information truly effect your stock and if it changes anything within the fundamentals of the business.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 02, 2013, at 1:02 PM, CeaRay wrote:

    Citi is the better bank and will return to its highs again. Corbat is to banking as Steve Job was to Apple. If you watch to long you will miss a lot of profit. He is changing Citi and cleaning up Pandits mess fast. As soon as we break the $48 spot we will move to $77-$84 area and then on to $178-$183. this will happen much faster then everyone will ever expect. Mark this on you planner or cell phone so you can come back and kick yourself for not buying Citi. Citi is already expanding and growing all over the world while other banks are just trying to survive.

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