Citigroup shares fall for a third straight session on Monday, bank splits trading personnel at Buffalo site as coronavirus spreads

According to a report by Reuters, citing a person with knowledge of the matter, Citigroup Inc (C) plans to split its trading personnel in Buffalo, New York, in order to ensure smooth operation of its trading desks amid spreading coronavirus across the state.

The Wall Street bank intends to keep no more than 60% of its personnel located in Buffalo at its main site, the source said. The remaining employees will either work remotely or at a secondary site located near Rochester, New York.

Citigroup shares closed lower for a third consecutive trading session in New York on Monday. It has also been the steepest single-session loss in more than a year. The stock went down 16.18% ($9.91) to $51.37, after touching an intraday low at $51.02, or a price level not seen since January 2nd 2019 ($50.67).

Shares of Citigroup Inc have retreated 35.71% so far in 2020 compared with a 14.99% loss for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).

In 2019, Citigroup’s stock went up 53.46%, thus, it outperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 28.88% gain.

Over the past weekend, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of New York was reported to have risen to 105, while Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a declaration of emergency due to accelerating pace of confirmed cases. The illness has so far caused 19 deaths in the United States and has killed over 3 500 people across the globe.

Citi’s decision followed similar moves by other major banks such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Morgan Stanley last week.

Citi employs nearly 1 800 people at its Buffalo site.

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 22 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Citigroup Inc’s stock price, have a median target of $90.00, with a high estimate of $122.00 and a low estimate of $56.00. The median estimate represents a 75.22% upside compared to the closing price of $51.37 on March 9th.

The same media also reported that at least 17 out of 25 surveyed investment analysts had rated Citigroup Inc’s stock as “Buy”, while 4 – as “Hold”. On the other hand, 1 analyst had recommended selling the stock.

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