Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Here's Why Shares of Citigroup Were Down Friday

By Lou Whiteman - Updated Apr 14, 2019 at 7:27PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

It was a bad day to announce issues overseas.

What happened

Shares of Citigroup (C 3.26%) were down as much as 5% on Friday afternoon on investor fears that falling bond yields and the potential for a slowing economy will eat into results. Citi also faced some company-specific issues with its Asian equity group that weighed on shares.

So what

Bank stocks including Citigroup were under pressure on Friday after the Federal Reserve indicated that it intends to take a more cautious approach on interest rates due to fears of economic weakness. The comments led to a rally in bond prices and resulted in the yield on a two-year Treasury bond rising above the yield on a 10-year, a so-called inverted yield curve.

A stock broker panics looking at a falling chart

Image source: Getty Images.

If history is a guide, an inverted yield curve is an indicator that a recession is on the horizon. Inverted yield curves also make lending less lucrative for banks.

Citi said Friday morning that it has ousted eight equity traders in Hong Kong and suspended three others after an internal investigation. Citi is one of the most international of the U.S. banks, deriving 40% of consumer banking revenue from outside of the U.S., and it can ill afford to see its reputation take a hit in Asia.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Citigroup.

Now what

It's worth noting that even after Friday's decline, shares of Citi are still up 17% year to date and 40% over the past three years. While safeguards are in place that should hopefully prevent a repeat of the 2008 crisis that almost drove Citigroup out of business, the risk of increasing economic headwinds that could stunt bank growth and further pressure shares is significant.

Given the amount of uncertainty on the horizon, it's a dangerous time to go bargain hunting.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Citigroup Inc. Stock Quote
Citigroup Inc.
$47.86 (3.26%) $1.51

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.