Meredith Whitney Ups Her Own Ante

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In a move which can only be deemed totally out of character, Oppenheimer analyst Meredith Whitney wrote in a new research note that things are looking good for Citigroup, and estimated an increase in profits by $2.00 a share for the year.


Messing! When pigs fly, right? Girl’s never going to let this one go. And why should she? You don't turn your back on a tried and true crowd pleaser. Plus, it's not like management has suddenly figured out how to operate the thing. In her latest report, Whitney stressed yet again how little she thinks of the ‘group, predicting the firm will lose $1.15 a share in the quarter, quadrupling her previous guesstimate of 28 cents. She also warned that this “will not be our last reduction in 2008,” which would sound like an idle threat coming from someone like Mike Mayo but from Whitney, truly scares the shit out of people. In response, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit reiterated that he’ll be letting people know how he plans to right this ship, in 2-3 months. So far, he's got nothing.
Citigroup Estimates Cut by Oppenheimer's Whitney [Bloomberg]

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Meredith Whitney: Citigroup Should Just Give Up

Earlier today, we wondered if, in light of the news that Vikram Pandit had resigned as CEO of Citigroup, analyst Meredith Whitney's opinion of the bank had changed. Choice comments that Whitney has made about the Big C in the past have included: "Citigroup is in such a mess Stephen Hawking couldn’t turn this company around"; "Citi is like an old broken-down Victorian house"; and Citi “has no earnings power, isn’t going to grow, hasn’t been investable in four years." She also once told Maria Bartiromo that the only way she'd change her mind about company would be if she received "a new brain." Still, sometimes analysts change their tune when new blood is brought in and, like former FDIC chair Sheila Bair, perhaps some of her beef with the bank had been a personal dislike of Uncle V. Now that he's gone, is she seeing Citigroup in a new light? Not so much, no. In the wake of CEO Vikram Pandit‘s surprise departure this morning, Whitney, founder and CEO of Meredith Whtney Advisory Group LLC, issued a note cautioning clients to be wary of Citigroup even under new leadership. “Citigroup is ‘the incredible shrinking bank,’ and the least interest of the big four, in our opinion,” Whitney said. “No CEO will be able to change these facts in the near-term. It appears the board feels the same way, as they have appointed an unknown to the outside to the new CEO position, Mike Corbat.” [...] On Tuesday, the stock has wavered between gains and losses on heavy trading volume in reaction to Pandit’s resignation. Shares are up 29% this year through Monday’s close. Despite signs of incremental improvement, Whitney isn’t backing down from her bearish stance. “Any seat in Citigroup’s court should come with a warning label,” Whitney says. Meredith Whitney: No CEO Can Fix Citigroup [WSJ] Earlier: Meredith Whitney Cannot Stress Enough How Little She Thinks Of Citigroup

Meredith Whitney Cannot Stress Enough How Little She Thinks Of Citigroup

Meredith Whitney is a banking analyst made famous by Citigroup downgrading Citigroup in late October 2007, saying that the bank was facing a $30 billion capital shortfall and later telling the press "Citigroup is in such a mess Stephen Hawking couldn’t turn this company around.” In the years since she's had less than flattering things to say about the firm and as recently as March 14, 2012, told CNBC that Citi "has no earnings power, isn't going to grow, hasn’t been investable in four years" and "is like an old broken-down Victorian house." (In the same interview, she told Maria Bartiromo that the only way she'd change her mind about the big C would be if she received "a new brain.") So it probably surprised a few people when, earlier this month, she upgraded the bank. But please, do not get the mistaken impression that she's suddenly in love with the place or has developed any feelings for it whatsoeverWhile her latest move was seen as an endorsement of Citi, Whitney said not to read too much into the call. "It certainly doesn't mean I'm running into the loving arms of Citigroup or I've become bullish on Citigroup. What it means is I don't see any near-term negative catalyst for the company," she said. "In the collective it's not that interesting of a stock." Ya hear that, Citi? Not if you were the last two people on earth! Whitney 'Wildly Bullish' on Certain US Markets, But... [CNBC]