Thursday's Headlines: Citigroup

Thursday's early headlines include settlement talks between Citigroup and the SEC, Time Warner's spinoff of AOL, and reports the Obama administration is closer to establishing a single regulator for the banking industry.
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Thursday's Early Headlines

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Sole Regulator of Banking Industry.

- The Obama administration is close to recommending that Congress create a single regulator to oversee the entire banking sector, according to a report in

The Wall Street Journal

. The new bank regulatory agency would consolidate the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision and strip supervisory powers from the

Federal Reserve

and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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Citigroup in Settlement Talks with SEC.

-

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

is in the early stages of talks with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

to settle an investigation into whether it misled investors by not properly disclosing the amount of troubled mortgage assets it held as the market began to implode in 2007, according to a report in

The Wall Street Journal

.

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GM Bankruptcy Watch Continues.

-

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

is closer to the June 1 deadline to restructure or file for bankruptcy without a resolution, although the future continues to look murky for the automaker. Overnight, talks on the future of the Opel unit ended without decisions as new details emerged of its financial needs, the German economy minister said Thursday.

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Legacy Loan Plan Falters.

- The government's Legacy Loans Program, which is being designed by the FDIC to rid banks of bad loans, is stalling and may soon be put on hold, according to

The Wall Street Journal

. The report says prospective buyers and sellers have expressed reluctance to the FDIC about participating for fear the program's rules will change in a political atmosphere hostile to Wall Street. In addition, some banks that might have sold troubled loans into the program earlier in the year have become less eager as they regained a sense of stability, the paper said.

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Time Warner Announces AOL Spinoff.

-

Time Warner

(TWX)

announced the separation of its AOL division Thursday. Following the proposed transaction, AOL would be an independent, publicly traded company. As part of a prior arrangement, Time Warner expects to purchase

Google's

(GOOG) - Get Report

5% stake in AOL in the third quarter of 2009

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Visteon Files for Bankruptcy Protection.

- Auto parts supplier

Visteon

and some of its U.S. subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday. The company, once a subsidiary of

Ford

(F) - Get Report

, expects to fund its operations with cash on hand, cash flows from operations and a debtor-in-possession facility. Ford has committed to support debtor-in-possession financing for Visteon's restructuring.

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Target Versus Ackman.

-

Target

(TGT) - Get Report

The retailer is set to host its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, where the long-running battle with shareholder Bill Ackman of Pershing Square for five seats on the board of directors will come to a head. On Tuesday, Ackman pledged to retain his stake in Target for at least five years if he's elected to the company's board.

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Other Shareholder Meetings

- Several other companies will be holding their own stockholder gatherings, although they're not expected to be as explosive as Target's.

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

, and

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

will host their own shareholder meetings Thursday

Earnings and Economic News

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Costco Misses Third-Quarter Targets.

-

Costco Wholesale

(COST) - Get Report

said third-quarter earnings fell 29% from a year ago to $209.6 million, or 48 cents a share, as it recorded a charge for a litigation settlement, international profits decreased and consumers held back on buying more expensive discretionary items. Net sales in the quarter fell 5% to $15.5 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Costco to earn 53 cents a share in the quarter on revenue of $16.2 billion.

On the other hand, several companies reported better-than-expected earnings for the previous quarter, including

Big Lots

(BIG) - Get Report

,

HJ Heinz

(HNZ)

,

Arctic Cat

(ACAT)

and

Genesco

(GCO) - Get Report

.

The economic calendar is busier Thursday than it has been earlier this week, with reports on durable goods orders and new home sales, as well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims and crude inventories, scheduled for release. Durable goods orders are expected to have increased 0.5% last month after a 0.8% drop in March, while new home sales are expected to rise to 363,000 from 356,000 in March