Hot Stock Minute

March retail sales; Citigroup posts earnings; Facebook gets into banking

Retail sales had their largest increase in a year-and-a-half, signaling a recovery from the brutal winter that impacted much of the economy. March retail sales rose 1.1%, the biggest gain since September 2012. It’s the second month of increases, with February retail sales increasing a revised 0.7%.

One of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching today is Citigroup (C), which reported better-than-expected earnings this morning that beat Wall Street estimates. Earnings were $0.16 better than analysts expected. Revenue declined 2%, but also came in ahead of expectations. The Wall Street Journal reported that Citigroup is cutting between 200 and 300 jobs worldwide. Last month, the Federal Reserve rejected Citi's proposal to boost its dividend and buyback more shares.

We’ll also be watching Herbalife (HLF) after a report that the FBI and the Department of Justice are investigating the company. The criminal investigation is a separate inquiry from civil investigations the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission have opened. The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and the FBI have not said what they are investigating and the company hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing. Herbalife said in a statement that it has no knowledge of an investigation by the FBI or the Justice Department. The company has been under heavy criticism from hedge fund manager Bill Ackman who has said Herbalife is a pyramid scheme.

The Financial Times reported that Facebook (FB) is about to get approval to get into banking, launching a service where users can store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others. That brings us to today's poll question. Would you make any financial transactions through Facebook? Cast your vote and post your comments as well.

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