Citi Risk in Troubled Emerging Markets Remains a Key Overhang

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Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C) is proof that breaking up a giant empire is not exactly easy to do. Sandy Weill built the empire up into a global financial supermarket, and even after the unit sales and after efforts to carve up the empire before and after the recession the banking giant is front and center. A strong stock market helped Citi shares on Tuesday, but the reality is that the bank has a lot of risk around the globe during a time when emerging market risk is not rewarded.

Even after a 1% gain in late Tuesday trading to $49.30, Citi’s shares are down about 10.5% from the 52-week high of $55.28. This puts Citi as the worst drop from the high of all four of the major money-center banks. Citi’s problem is that it operates in so many international destinations that it has more risk than just the Fed, tapering, banking migration, and other issues.

Some of the Latin American markets it operates in are Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and more. EMEA risky nations include other nations in the news for current trouble spots: Turkey, Egypt, the PIIGS, and more. Asia-Pacific nations it operates in which are in trouble are China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Thailand and elsewhere.

The major risk here is a currency risk spreading worse into the normal flow of funds through an economy. What is interesting is that the consensus price target is still up at $58.86, which indicates almost 20% upside. That is higher than any of the money center bank rivals of Citi. Analysts have been slow to reduce their price targets on Citi so far.

If things turn for the worse yet again in these emerging markets where Citi operates, then those price targets are going to have to come down handily.