Shares of Citigroup (NYSE:C) are up modestly today to a new 52-week high despite downbeat news from the jobs market. Roughly halfway through the trading session, the nation's third-largest bank by assets is higher by $0.43, or 0.91%.
Data released this morning showed that the number of job openings fell in March from the highest level in nearly five years. The Labor Department said that the number of vacant positions dropped by 55,000, down to 3.84 million. According to Bloomberg News, the drop showed that employers are "waiting to see how the economy performs as federal budget cuts take effect."
Despite the disappointing figure, bank stocks are nevertheless broadly higher, with the KBW Bank Index (DJINDICES:^BKX) advancing 0.81% at the time of writing. Much of the performance can likely be traced to Bank of America's comprehensive settlement with mortgage-bond insurer MBIA. The case resolves significant uncertainty for both of these companies and paves the way for Bank of America to more fully support the housing recovery through heightened lending.
In other news impacting the sector, according to The Wall Street Journal, another major proxy advisory firm is recommending that shareholders of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) vote in favor of a proposal to split the bank's chairman and CEO roles, both of which are currently occupied by Jamie Dimon. The move from Glass Lewis follows a similar recommendation, released at the end of last week, by Institutional Shareholder Services.
And finally, concerning Citigroup itself, the bank has filed a lawsuit against Barclays in an effort to recover more than $141 million related to the provision of foreign exchange services to a unit of Lehman Brothers Holdings, the corporate entity housing the failed investment bank Lehman Brothers. While the lawsuit is admittedly peanuts compared to, say, Bank of America's, if successful it will nevertheless add to Citigroup's bottom line.