What Citi Is Doing

This post is from CNBC producer Robert Hum:

Stock futures point towards a higher open, though they are significantly off the highs of the morning. This comes after the S&P 500’s 4th worst day of the year yesterday, putting it at an 11.5-year low. The S&P is now down 52% from its all-time high set just over a year ago. Up strongly this morning are yesterday’s most beaten-up sectors: financials, materials, and energy.

Overseas today, Asian markets turned around following their lower open. For example, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index was down nearly 4% shortly after the open, but rebounded to finish up almost 3% on the day. However, European markets, while only down 1%, are at the lows of the day.

Citigroup executives are reportedly evaluating various options for the company, including selling parts of the company or merging the firm with another company.

Citigroup’s board will likely convene today to discuss many of these alternatives. This comes after the stock has lost half of its value this week, as it closed below $5 yesterday. While there’s no official comment from the company on these reports, Citigroup stock is up 11% pre-open.

After the close yesterday, KeyCorp slashed its quarterly dividend 67% to 6.25 cents. This was the regional bank’s second dividend cut this year. In June, it lowered its dividend from 37.5 cents to 18.75 cents. Expect to see more of this from banks, as they continue to seek ways to shore up additional capital.

In another news:

Gap’s earnings beat analysts’ estimates by a penny. Despite reaffirming full-year guidance inline with expectations, on the conference call, its CEO said he expects challenging conditions to continue for at least six months.

Ann Taylor earnings miss estimates by a penny. It sees its margins to be under “significant pressure” amid heavy sales promotions across the industry in the fourth quarter. As a result, the company is withdrawing its previous Q4 and full year guidance.

Dow component Wal-Mart announced that its international operations chief, Mike Duke, will succeed Lee Scott as CEO on February 1. Lee Scott, who will retire from the CEO position, will remain chairman of the company.

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