Citigroup faces $15 billion writeoff: GS

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs & Co on Monday downgraded Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to “sell” from “neutral,” and said the largest U.S. bank may have to write off $15 billion over the next two quarters as mortgage losses reduce earnings.

The downgrade sent Citigroup’s shares down as much as 5.4 percent, leading a broad decline in financial services stocks.

Monday’s report from analyst William Tanona came shortly after Citigroup’s own chief U.S. equity strategist, Tobias Levkovich, upgraded the nation’s banking sector to “overweight” from “market weight,” calling selling pressure “overdone.”

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