Big Lots Eyed by Investigators and 3 Hot Stocks Turn Heads

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Redbox (NASDAQ:CSTR) are launching an invitation-only, beta version of their Redbox Instant video streaming service this month. Subscribers may pay $8 per month for a selection of streaming movies and 4 DVDs per month from Redbox kiosks. A streaming-only subscriber will pay $6 a month. Newer movies may be rented or bought from an online store.

On November 28, an article in the Wall Street journal triggered a probe by federal and civil investigators into transactions by seven executives in their companies’ shares. On November 29, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office sent subpoenas to five companies, one of them being Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) as the sale of Big Lots stock worth $10 million by chief executive Steven Fishman is now under the investigators’ lens. Fresh information obtained by the WSJ, however, reveals that 10 executives of Big Lots sold stock worth an aggregated $23 million during March, ahead of news that led the company’s stock to decline precipitously. All these trades were made outside of pre-arranged trading plans.

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Retailer Costco (NASDAQ:COST) reports FQ1 EPS of $0.95 which surpasses estimates by $0.02 and revenue of $23.2 billion which is short of forecasts by $500 million. Comparable sales are up 7% in the US and 9% internationally. Net profit surges 30% to $416 million while membership fees are higher by 14.3% to $511 million.

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) is about to sell its 49% holding in Mitsubishi UFJ Merrill Lynch PB Securities Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, its partner in the private banking joint venture. The sale comes as the Japanese bank seeks to increase its presence in wealth management operations in Japan and builds a deeper relationship with Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).

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