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Some analysts expect Citigroup Inc. on Friday to announce plans to sell off its consumer-finance and portions of its credit card operations as the troubled company tries to raise cash and downsize its once-mighty operations. Citi this week could post a record loss of as much as $10 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31, some analysts say. Citi today announced it will post its fourth-quarter and year-end 2008 results on Friday instead of on Jan. 22, as planned. It did not provide an explanation for the switch. Citi yesterday struck a $2.7 billion deal to convert its Smith Barney investment-banking unit into a joint venture with Morgan Stanley, but observers say Citi needs to raise billions more to survive. As Citi downsizes, it may dismantle its longtime financial-supermarket model that has provided financial services to consumer, investment and commercial clients around the world. Barclays Capital analyst Jason Goldberg wrote in a report published today that in order to "simplify the company" Citi may try to unload CitiFinancial a consumer-lending unit offering car loans, home-equity loans and "debt-consolidation" loans. Barclays also wrote that Citi may also put "portions of its (credit) card portfolio" on the block. Those could include Citi's private-label credit card operations including cards offered by such retailers as Home Depot and Office Depot. But the market for private-label credit cards is weak. General Electric Co.'s GE Money unit last year failed to generate interest from buyers when it tried to sell its own $30 billion retail card portfolio.

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