Citigroup Shares Halve In Four Days

Citigroup's shares slumped 26 percent Thursday; the bank has lost half its value in just four days. The chief executive, Vikram Pandit, will hold a meeting for senior managers Friday to update them on the bank's condition. Some reports suggest that auctioning off parts of the bank, or even the whole thing may be on the agenda.

Meanwhile, at the bank's Manhattan offices, television screens have stopped displaying the company's stock price. Traders have begun making jokes comparing Citigroup to the Titanic.

The bank has posted four consecutive quarters of losses, caused by billions in write-downs. Nine of its investment funds have cratered this year. And now the bank could face a tsunami of new losses in its once-lucrative consumer loan business as the global economy weakens.

However, senior executives say the company is financially strong and has ample financing options. Pandit has followed through on plans to aggressively shrink the company and control costs. The bank has sold tens of billions of dollars' worth of risky assets, improved its capital position and announced plans to eliminate 52,000 jobs by next June. "We are entering 2009 in a strong position, much stronger than we entered in 2008," Pandit said in a speech to employees this week.

Yet as the drumbeat of bad news about the bank grows louder, investors remain unconvinced.