BofA Merrill Lynch expects subdued client activity and geo-political risks to weigh on the first-quarter earnings of large U.S. banks and downgraded shares of Citigroup Inc
Results (are) unlikely to be dismal, and should show improvement over fourth quarter, but we don't expect seasonal improvement as strong as often seen in the past, BofA Merrill analysts wrote in a note to clients.
Return of capital through dividends and distributions will be on the minds of investors and they are likely to play financials like BlackStone Group LP
BofA Merrill cut its price target on Citigroup stock to $4.95 from $5.60, and that on Goldman stock by $8 to $174.
On JPMorgan Chase & Co
The brokerage cut its price target on Morgan Stanley
It, however, maintained its neutral rating on the stock.
Goldman shares fell 1.2 percent to $162.53, while those of Citigroup fell 1.3 percent to $4.62 in early trade on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Morgan Stanley stock was down 1.6 percent at $28.88.
(Reporting by Rachel Chitra, Sweta Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)