Citigroup: The Most-Shorted Stock in America
Citi's position at the top of the pack is due to the bank's stock price and ongoing concern about its balance sheet and mortgage foreclosure practices.
Citi's shares have underperformed its peers over the last quarter. The stock is down 2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is higher by 5%. More damning, shares of Bank of America (BAC) are 15% higher, and JPMorgan's (JPM) are up nearly as much.
Citigroup has also been drawn into the mortgage foreclosure documentation scandal. As DailyFinance's Abigail Fields has shown there's evidence that CitiMortgage used questionable foreclosure methods. Currently, a number of state attorneys general have said they'll likely sue banks that engaged in fraudulent practices. Settlement talks are ongoing, and legal authorities have offered terms, but they could cost banks billions of dollars. The alternative is that Citi and its peers will be drawn into multiple court battles.
Citi's problems are the industry's problems -- and the banking crisis may not be altogether over.