An encouraging jobs report and a nearly billion-dollar setback made for an interesting week for Citigroup (NYSE:C). And while it was a fight to the finish, the superbank ended the week up 1.2%, finishing roughly on par with its Big Four banking peers and the three major market indices.
The week's market mover
On Friday, the Department of Labor released its monthly Employment Situation Report, which tracks the unemployment rate, non-farm jobs numbers, the average workweek, and average hourly earnings. For June, the U.S. economy added 195,000 jobs, well beyond analyst expectations of 165,000.
In addition, payroll numbers for the previous two months were revised upward, adding another 70,000 to official U.S. workforce numbers. And while unemployment rate stayed at 7.6%, it was because more people were looking for work; it had been expected to drop to 7.5%.
Stand by your stock
Because of the jobs report, markets made a last-minute surge, which is what one might expect, but that outcome was far from a given.
For weeks now, ever since the Federal Reserve announced it will start dialing back quantitative easing if positive economic news continued to come in, a jobs report like yesterday's was just as likely to send markets in the opposite direction: Investors had gotten very used to the idea of having the Fed flood the economy with money, and the better the economic news, the sooner that easy money would begin to disappear.
But with yesterday's positive reaction to positive economic news, it's possible that markets have begun to make the mental adjustment they'll have to make as the U.S. tries to get back to a normal economy -- one not dependent on central-bank money for growth.
But to start off the week, Citi investors faced some alarming news: The superbank will pay government-run housing giant Fannie Mae $968 million for "breaches of representations and warranties on 3.7 million residential first mortgage loans sold to Fannie Mae that were originated between 2000 and 2012."
This nearly billion-dollar hit could have sent Citi stock into a spiral, but it actually performed well on Monday and only got squirrelly as the Friday release of the June jobs report loomed ever closer. Citi did announce that mortgage-repurchase reserves would cover the payout, which no doubt helped ease the pain for investors. Citi investors know a good stock when they see it and wisely stuck by its side through a tumultuous week.
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