Market News Brief: Top Stories Affecting Trading

After the bell today, Nike (NYSE:NKE) will report fourth quarter earnings expected to be 1.16% a share, an increase of 9% YOY. Sales are also expected to rise 9% to $5.53 billion. Nike shares are already trading up 1.26% today in anticipation of the afternoon’s good news. Shares are up 17.2% in the last year.

Gary Foster, a former VP of Citigroup Inc.‘s (NYSE:C) internal treasury-finance department, was arrested today on allegations that he embezzled more than $19 million from Citigroup accounts into his personal account at J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) between July and December 2010. His alleged crimes were detected by a recent Citigroup internal audit. Apparently Foster inserted false information into wire-transfer instructions, creating the appearance that the transfers to his account were in support of an existing contract. If convicted, Foster faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in jail.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York bought $4.58 billion in Treasury debt today. Dealers offered to sell the New York Fed $13 billion in 2015-2016 debt. The purchase kept Treasury prices low, and pushed up yields, with 10-year notes currently up 1.57%.

Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) to junk, citing a poor spring selling season. Toll Brothers designs, builds, markets, and arranges financing for single-family detached and attached homes. S&P says the company has enough liquidity to survive another year or two of weakness.

The Supreme Court has ruled that California’s law prohibiting the sale of violent video games to children is unconstitutional, citing the first amendment right to freedom of speech. The ruling comes as good news to the video game industry and big players like EA Games (NASDAQ:ERTS) and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI).

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is up 4.22% today. The software company is due to start a trial to see whether spectrum designated for TV could be used to create super WiFi networks. Also involved in the trial are SkyB, BT Group (NYSE:BT), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Samsung and the BBC. Microsoft also signed a patent agreement today with General Dynamics Itronix to provide them with broad coverage for devices running the Android platform. Details of the agreement have yet to be made public, but sources indicate Microsoft will receive royalties under the agreement.

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