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Citigroup makes some changes

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Banking giant and Dow component Citigroup (NYSE:C) $36.50 said it is naming Sanford Bernstein's Sallie Krawcheck as chairman and chief executive officer of a new business unit which will include the company's equity research and private client brokerage operations. The unit will include the global private client group, with more than 12,500 financial consultants, as well as global equity research operating under the Smith Barney name. The move comes as a global settlement between investment banks and regulators gears up in the wake of allegations of conflict of interest in the investment banking business. "This structure, under Sallie's leadership, will help assure that all equity research at Citigroup will be independent of corporate and investment banking and underwriting," Citigroup said in a statement.

In a morning call Wachovia looks to be cautious on both Citigroup (C) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) $72.37, downgrading both to "hold" from "buy," saying that it sees little growth catalyst for Citigroup. For Goldman Sachs, Wachovia cites a combination of recent stock appreciation and lowered earnings expectations good reason to be cautious of the shares. While Goldman should benefit from several deal closings in its investment banking business this quarter, more discouraging is the weak pace of new merger and acquisition announcements.

Interactive entertainment software maker Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) $18.21 is jumping 10.6% to $20.15 in pre-market trading after reporting Q2 earnings last night of $0.13 per share, which beat the Street's estimates of $0.10. The company said revenues rose 21.2% year-over-year to $169.2 million, which was also better than consensus of $154.8 million. The company also raised its FY03 revenue and EPS guidance to $934 million and $1.29 respectively, versus previous guidance of $920 million/$1.25.

Stock futures have edged into positive territory and have risen just above fair value levels indicating a marginally higher open for stocks. S&P futures (sp02z) are up 2 points at 883.50, NASDAQ futures (nd02z) are higher by 5 points at 968.50 and Dow futures (dj02z) are higher by 14 points at 8,360.

Fair value for the S&P 500 today is $0.27. That price will not change during the session. HL Camp & Company has their computers set for program buying at $1.21 and set for program selling at $-2.27. Fair value for the NASDAQ-100 today is $2.35.

Early action in the bond futures pits has Treasuries seeing selling in the 5, 10 and 30-year futures contracts. The benchmark 10-year December contract (ty02z) 114'040 -0.23% is lower with YIELD ($TNX.X) rising to 3.982%. The longer-dated 30- year December futures (us02z) 110'080 -0.28% has YIELD ($TYX.X) rising to 5.035%.

In the last four sessions, Treasuries have seen some renewed interest from buyers and stocks have fallen marginally as a result. The action in the bond pits and some slight selling there appears to be having a calming effect on equities in this morning's pre-market action.

Jeff Bailey

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