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Personal Spending: Friday's Headlines

The Commerce Department said personal spending was flat in April



) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Friday, May 28, 2010.

Friday's Early Headlines

  • Personal Spending Flat in April -- The Commerce Department said personal spending was flat in April, surprising economists who had expected a 0.3% increase. It was the lowest reading since September, when spending fell 0.6%. Additionally, the Commerce Department said personal income rose 0.4% last month, slightly below the consensus for a 0.4% rise.
  • BP Could Extend Top Kill for 24-48 Hours -- BP (BP) - Get BP p.l.c. Report said Friday the "top kill" procedure to plug the leak in the Gulf of Mexico could be extended for another 24 to 48 hours. BP, in a statement on its Web site, said if the well is successfully "killed," it will then begin cementing operations to plug the leak. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has become the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
  • Goldman Sachs Reportedly Seeks Lesser Charge With SEC -- Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (The) Report is looking to avoid the Securities and Exchange Commission's fraud charges by reaching a settlement on a lesser offense and agreeing to a hefty fine, the Financial Times reports, citing to people familiar with the bank's negotiating position. Goldman is trying to focus settlement talks with the SEC on the less serious charge of omitting or misstating material facts to investors, the report said. A lesser charge would reduce Goldman's risk of being sued by investors and help the bank avoid the reputational damage of having settled a fraud charge, people familiar with the situation told the FT.
  • Shell Buys Natural Gas Explorer for $47 Billion -- Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) said Friday is agreed to acquire most of privately owned East Resources, an explorer of natural gas, for $4.7 billion in cash. Shell will acquire the business from Pennsylvania-based East Resources, the company's private-equity investor Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and its advisors Jefferies & Co. East Resources' primary activity is focused on the Marcellus shale, in the northeastern United States.
  • Toys 'R' Us Files IPO Registration -- Toys "R" Us said Friday it has filed a preliminary registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. Toys "R" Us said the offering will consist of newly issued shares sold by the company. The number of shares to be offered and the price range haven't yet been determined. Toys "R" Us said it intends to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "TOYS."
  • Ford Reportedly to Scrap Mercury Brand -- Ford (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report is preparing to phase out its 71-year-old Mercury brand because of dwindling sales, according to several reports. Ford executives are expected to ask the automaker's board in July to eliminate Mercury, Bloomberg reports. Dealers have been told to expect an announcement about Mercury in October, the New York Times reports.
  • Apple iPad Makes International Debut -- Apple's (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report iPad tablet device was made available Friday to customers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. Apple plans to release iPad in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July. Meanwhile, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analysts upped their price target on Apple to $325 from $300 on better-than-expected iPad sales and tailwinds for the iPhone, including international strength.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston

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