Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, May 22:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were trading higher Wednesday as investors awaited testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the economy and awaited a report that's expected to show stronger existing home sales.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes existing home sales for April at 10 a.m. EDT.

Bernanke will begin testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress at 10 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Tuesday closed higher as St. Louis Federal Bank President James Bullard said quantitative easing remains the best monetary policy option right now.

The S&P 500 gained 0.17% to close at 1,669.16.

4. -- Lowe's ( LOW) said first-quarter earnings rose 3% but the numbers came in below Wall Street expectations.

Lowe's earned $540 million, or 49 cents a share, in the first quarter, up from $527 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts were looking for first-quarter earnings of 51 cents a share on revenue of $13.45 billion.

Home-improvement rival Home Depot ( HD) on Tuesday said first-quarter net income rose 18%, and it boosted its full-year earnings and revenue forecasts.

5. -- Saks ( SKS) reportedly has hired Goldman Sachs to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the luxury department store chain.

The New York Post reported that likely bidders for the retailer include private-equity firms KKR and Leonard Green & Partners.

6. -- Sony ( SNE) CEO Kazuo Hirai said Wednesday that the board of the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant would assess a proposal from Daniel Loeb's Third Point LLC hedge fund, Sony's biggest shareholder, to spin off up to 20% of its movie, TV and music division.

Loeb said money from the sale could be used to shore up Sony's ailing device manufacturing unit.

Sony initially responded by saying its entertainment business wasn't for sale.

7. -- Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) reports fiscal second-quarter earnings after the markets close Wednesday and analysts expect the PC and printer maker to report earnings of 81 cents a share on revenue of $28 billion.

8. -- Ford ( F) said that 21 of its North American factories will shut for only one week this summer, instead of the traditional two weeks, and the automaker plans to produce 40,000 vehicles during the week it's staying open.

9. -- Target ( TGT) is forecast by Wall Street on Wednesday to post first-quarter earnings of 85 cents a share.

10. -- The death toll from the powerful EF5 tornado that smashed through the suburbs of Oklahoma City on Monday held steady at 24, including nine children.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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