Here's what you need to know to make your Thursday profitable:
- Winter Weather Blues: Shares of America's largest retail chain missed analyst expectations this morning. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) blamed the poor winter weather after it reported first-quarter earnings of $1.10 per share, a decline from $1.14 a share during the same quarter last year. The company has outlined several new growth strategies including its organic grocery segment and an acceleration of smaller format stores in metro areas. Last September, the company announced plans to expand its brand to 500 Neighborhood Markets (local drug and food stores) by the spring of 2015.
- Oil Spill in Los Angeles: According to the Associated Press, more than 50,000 gallons of crude oil have spilled onto the streets of Los Angeles after an oil pipe ruptured in the early morning hours. The L.A. Fire Department said the leak started at 12:15 a.m. and that no injuries have occurred. Los Angeles news outlets are reporting the oil is "knee high" and has spread over a half-mile.
- Today's Economic Calendar: Keep your eye on housing starts and consumer sentiment, two important gages of economic growth and activity in the U.S. economy. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is also scheduled to speak on the economy and monetary policy from Little Rock, Ark., around noon.
- France Being France: The French government issued a decree that provides it more power in regulating mergers and acquisitions. The announcement could derail General Electric Co.'s (NYSE: GE) $15.6 billion bid for Alstom's energy division, which President Hollande has vehemently opposed since its announcement.
- Minimum Wage Fight: In an effort to drum up support for a $15 per hour minimum wage, labor unions will protest today on behalf of fast food workers in the U.S. and more than 30 other nations. A likely campaign issue in the 2014 election, greater wage pressure is expected to follow for McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD), Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW) and Yum Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM).
- Growth Problems: Germany, the Euro zone's largest economy, experienced an 0.8% increase in GDP in the first quarter. This is the nation's strongest performance since 2011. Meanwhile, France, the second-largest bloc, experienced an anemic 0.2% increase, matching the GDP growth of the entire Eurozone.
- Cable Plans: According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has hired Lazard Ltd. (NYSE: LAZ) to advise its management team on a possible acquisition of DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV). AT&T will likely offer approximately $50 billion for the satellite provider, making it one of the nation's largest cable companies overnight.
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from CA Inc. (NYSE: CA), Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS), J C Penney (NYSE: JCP), Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP), Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK), Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO), and Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar May 15, 2014
- Housing Starts at 8:30 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m.
- St Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks at 11:50 a.m.
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