Things are going from bad to worse for our largest banks.
The activity in the nation’s banks suggests that investors believe they are circling the drain, zombies needing only a blow to the head once and for all, or facing an imminent restructuring at the hands of the government.
Among those hitting 52-week lows Thursday were Citigroup, regional banks Fifth Third Bancorp and BB&T Corp. and several credit-card companies, including American Express Co.
Citigroup fell as much as 14% Thursday to an intra-day low of $2.50, where the shares hadn’t traded since December 1991. Bank of America shares were down 14% to $3.86, just pennies shy of the 52-week low of $3.77 hit two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the credit-default swaps of the major banks also widened, suggesting greater fears about the ability of these companies to pay their debts (see table).