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Treasury May Worsen Citigroup Stock-Trading Slump: Chart of Day

The U.S. Treasury Department’s sale of its remaining common shares in Citigroup Inc. may exacerbate a slowdown in the stock’s trading during the past few months.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the number of Citigroup shares changing hands each day across U.S. markets in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Average daily trading in the second half through yesterday was 455 million shares, 32 percent lower than the average for the first half. Buying and selling of the stock hasn’t fallen in a calendar half since 2003, according to Bloomberg.

The dropoff may have led the Treasury to unload its last

2.4 billion Citigroup shares in a “bulk sale” after previously cutting its stake through day-to-day transactions, Vivek Juneja, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., wrote today in a report. The holding resulted from a $45 billion federal bailout in 2008.

In the current quarter, Treasury sales accounted for about 10 percent of trading in Citigroup, Juneja said. The proportion increased from 8 percent in the third quarter and 6 percent to 7 percent in the second, he estimated.

Citigroup’s volume exceeded 1 billion shares three times this quarter before today -- on Oct. 13, Oct. 15 and Nov. 5 -- after failing to rise above the threshold in the preceding three months. There were 18 billion-share days in the second quarter, with a peak of 1.864 billion shares on April 16.

(To save a copy of the chart, click here.)

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