Muni Bond Probe: Friday's Headlines

The Securities and Exchange Commission is Wall Street's bets in against municipal bonds they sold, according to a report.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Friday, May 14, 2010.

Friday's Early Headlines

  • Retail Sales Rise 0.4% in April -- Retail sales rose 0.4% to $366.4 billion last month, the seventh consecutive monthly gain. Excluding autos, sales still rose 0.4%. Economists were calling for a decline of 0.2% in overall sales, and a 0.2% increase excluding autos.
  • SEC Investigating Wall Street's Muni Bond Bets -- The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Wall Street banks used their own money to bet in financial markets against municipal bonds that they had sold, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The fact finding probe may not result in any formal action, the newspaper reports.
  • Goldman Steps in to Save Shorebank: Report -- Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Report CEO Lloyd Blankfein has gotten personally involved in helping to arrange a $125 million rescue for a Chicago community bank that provides loans to lower-income communities, The Financial Times reports. ShoreBank was told by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in March that it had 60 days to raise capital or risk being seized.
  • Video Game Sales Fall in April -- Video game sales plunged 26% in April, the fourth largest drop in history, according to research firm NPD Group. The lack of new game launches hurt sales, with software sales falling 22% and hardware sales down 37%. The weak sales data could hit video game stocks today, including names like GameStop (GME) - Get Report, Activision (ATVI) - Get Report and Electronic Arts (ERTS) .

Friday's Earnings Roundup

  • J.C. Penney (JCP) - Get Report reported a first-quarter profit of 25 cents a share, matching the Thomson Reuters average estimate. Looking ahead, J.C. Penney expects second-quarter earnings in the range of 10 cents to 13 cents a share, matching Wall Street's forecast. But management's full-year outlook of $1.64 a share falls short of estimates by a penny.
  • Dillard's (DDS) - Get Report posted a first-quarter adjusted profit of 70 cents a share, well above the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of 51 cents a share. Sales of $1.45 billion was slightly below the average target of $1.52 billion.
  • Nordstrom (JWN) - Get Report said it had first-quarter earnings of 52 cents a share on sales of $1.99 billion, compared with the Thomson Reuters average estimate of 55 cents a share and revenue of $1.97 billion. Looking ahead, Nordstrom offered in-line earnings guidance for the 2011 fiscal year.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston

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