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CIBC Analyst Got Death Threats on Citigroup: Report

Reuters
Monday, 5 Nov 2007 | 8:49 AM ET

The analyst whose downgrade of Citigroupsparked a broad stock market sell-off on Thursday said she has received several death threats stemming from her research, the Times of London said.

Meredith Whitney of CIBC World Markets late Wednesday downgraded Citigroup to "sector underperformer," saying the largest US bank by assets might need to raise more than $30 billion of capital and cut its dividend.

Her downgrade triggered a 6.9 percent drop in Citigroup's shares Thursday, leading to declines of 362 points in the Dow Jones industrial average and 2.6 percent in the Standard & Poor's 500, the biggest drop since August.

"People are scared to be negative, especially when a company has such a wide holding," Whitney told the Times of London in an article published Saturday.

"Clients are not pleased with my call and I have had several death threats," she continued. "But it was the most straightforward call I've made in my career and I am surprised my peer analysts have been resistant. It's so straightforward, it's indisputable."

Whitney did not immediately return requests for comment on Sunday. In 2005 she married John "Bradshaw" Layfield, a former World Wrestling Entertainment champion. CIBC World Markets is part of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Charles Prince resigned Sunday as Citi CEO. His departure follows significant losses at the bank from exposure to bad loans, mortgages and other debt.

Citigroup's market value has fallen below that of Bank of America the second-largest U.S. bank by assets.

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