Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter financial results before the markets open on Tuesday. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters are calling for $1.19 in earnings per share (EPS) and $17.22 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, the financial giant said it had EPS of $1.14 and $17.01 billion in revenue.
The big banks generally kick off earnings season, and JPMorgan and Wells Fargo have already released their reports. Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is also expected to share its latest quarterly results this week. Also note that four Dow stocks, including Goldman Sachs, are reporting earnings this week as well.
Both Citigroup and Bank of America were among the stocks receiving multiple analyst upgrades the first week of 2018, in part because their tax rates were so much higher than most companies and they will easily benefit the recent tax reform. Citigroup saw its price targets at three analysts get hiked: Barclays to $93 from $76, Instinet to $86 from $84 and Oppenheimer to $89 from $83. The shares were trading below $75 when those calls were made. Afterward, Credit Suisse reiterated Citigroup as Outperform but raised its price target to $86 from $83.
Trading at a still very cheap 10 times estimated 2018 earnings, Citigroup looks very reasonable in what has become a pricey stock market. A continuing stock buyback program is a big positive. Its institutional clients group appeared to be holding its ground last quarter, and the bank reported better-than-expected third-quarter numbers, as its global consumer business showed further revenue growth. Also, CEO Michael Corbat commented:
As part of our $19 billion capital plan, we returned $6.4 billion of capital to our shareholders this quarter, enabling us to begin to reduce the amount of capital we hold. We continue to be focused on increasing both the return on capital and the return of capital for the benefit of our shareholders.
Citigroup saw multiple price hikes after the most recent report as well.
As with its peers overall, Citigroup’s short interest fell in the most recently reported period. The 27.65 million shares sold short was down almost 17% from the previous 33.22 million. That represents about 1% of the total float, and it would take investors about two days to cover all short positions. Note that peer Bank of America is one of the most shorted stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
A few other analysts have recently weighed in on Wells Fargo:
- Wells Fargo has a Buy rating and raised its price target from $90 to $95.
- Keefe, Bruyette & Woods has an Outperform rating and raised its price target from $80 to $87.
- Nomura has a Buy rating and an $84 price target.
Shares of Citigroup were last seen at $76.84, with a consensus analyst price target of $81.59 and a 52-week trading range of $55.23 to $77.92.