Friday, November 21, 2008

Citigroup Considering Options; Heinz Quarterly Profit Grows; Treasuries Down on Stock Recoup; Gasoline Prices; Notes

Citigroup Considering Options

Citigroup Inc. is considering auctioning off parts of the firm or selling the company outright, according to a media report late Thursday. The online edition of The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that Citigroup executives are in preliminary stages of discussing a possible sale. The report said that the company's management is still insisting that it has ample capital and a sound strategic direction.

Heinz Quarterly Profit Grows

H. J. Heinz Co. said Friday its third-quarter profit totaled $277 million, or 87 cents a share, from $227 million, or 71 cents a share, in the same quarter a year before. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings on average of 74 cents a share, according to a FactSet Research survey. Revenue for the quarter was $2.61 billion compared to $2.52 billion in the year-ago period. The food giant also reaffirmed its forecast for full-year organic sales growth of at least 6% and profit in the target range of $2.87 to $2.91 a share for the current 2009 fiscal year, which ends April 29.

U.S. Treasuries Down on Stock Recoup

U.S. Treasuries declined early Friday, pushing yields up from yesterday's multi-year lows, as U.S. equity futures pointed higher on hopes that Citigroup may sell itself. Ten-year note yields rose 13 basis points to 3.14%. Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans are scheduled to speak throughout the day.

Gasoline Prices

Average U.S. retail gasoline prices fell below $2.00 a gallon for the first time since March 9, 2004, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Prices edged down two cents to $1.99 a gallon on Friday. Gasoline sold for $2.86 a gallon one month ago and $3.09 a year ago. Locally, Atlanta gasoline prices were reported to be as low as $1.64 a gallon.

Every penny of lower fuel costs adds $1 billion into the economy for other uses. With gasoline falling from $4 a gallon to $2 a gallon, there has been a "stimulus" of $200 billion to the U.S. economy.


Friday is a stock option expiration day, so there is usually some trading early and late with the middle of the day being quite flat. Additionally, with the positive market open, the energy stocks moved up on the price of oil going back to $50 a barrel.

On Saturday and again on Sunday, there will be a blog posted by Joe Rollins, so he can give his perspective on the current market.

With Thanksgiving being next week, the office of Rollins & Associates, P.C. and Rollins Financial Counseling, Inc. will be closed on Thursday and Friday. The stock and bond markets will be closed on Thursday with a short "holiday" trading day for each on Friday.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Bloomberg, Reuters

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