- - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BANKS

Probes into mortgage lending by 3 banks grow

NEW YORK — The New York attorney general’s office has requested information from three major U.S. banks about their mortgage operations, according to a source familiar with the matter.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has asked Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley for information on their mortgage securitization practices, the source said.

Mr. Schneiderman has also requested meetings with the banks over the next couple of weeks.

Spokesmen for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Bank of America did not return a call seeking comment.

COMMERCE

Rising pump prices add to Wal-Mart uncertainty

NEW YORK — Rising gas prices are adding another obstacle to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s campaign to reverse a two-year U.S. sales slump.

Strong overseas revenue, growth at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart’s specialty — cost-cutting — pushed the world’s largest retailer’s net income up 3 percent in the first quarter, beating Wall Street expectations.

But business at home is still soft. Wal-Mart says it is seeing some improvements but needs more time to determine whether hammering its low-price message and restocking items it had scrapped can turn around sales.

Wal-Mart offered a cautious second-quarter earnings outlook because of a new headache. It’s worried its low-income customers will spend less at its stores as gasoline hovers around $4 a gallon. Wal-Mart’s fears have deep repercussions, because it’s a bellwether of consumer spending and accounts for nearly 10 percent of all non-automotive retail dollars spent in the U.S.

STOCKS

LinkedIn boosts IPO price range

NEW YORK — LinkedIn Corp., a website where professionals connect with one another, said its initial public offering will likely raise 30 percent more than previously expected, a sign that investors are eager to bet on social networking companies.

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