Citigroup (C) Stock Advances 5% After Oppenheimer Upgrade, Sale Talk

Shares of Citigroup Inc. (C) advanced nearly 5% to $4.03 hod on Wednesday after investment management services Oppenheimer upgraded its rating on the bank’s shares to “outperform” from “neutral,” citing valuation.

Citi shares rose also on a report from the Financial Times which said that sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority [QIA] is interested in buying part of the U.S. Treasury’s 27% stake in Citi, which the government has said it intends to sell.

However, QIA warned that any deal would depend on price, market conditions and the govt’s willingness to sell Citigroup common shares to a sovereign wealth fund at a discount.

The Treasury announced on March 29 that it plans to dispose of nearly 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup’s common stock in 2010. The government, which during the financial crisis directly invested $45 billion in Citigroup and backed over $300 billion of the bank’s real estate loans and securities, received $7.7 billion of Citi shares in return for its support during the financial crisis.

Citi shares gained $0.14, or 3.84%, to $3.92 rtq at 12:23 E.T. in New York Stock Exchange trading.

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