Feb 21 - Wal-Mart Stores posted a higher quarterly profit and raised its dividend payout, as efforts such as extending its layaway program and matching competitors' prices attracted shoppers.
Here's your morning conference Thursday the world's largest. Is retailer Wal-Mart reporting just minutes ago posting higher quarterly profit. And pump up its -- and an 18%. Efforts such as extending its light -- program and price matching attracted shoppers during the competitive holiday season. Not dandy at the retailer Wal-Mart saying customers were challenged by higher fuel prices increase taxes and only tax -- funds. That explain why Wal-Mart officials exchanged. Emails last week. What executive complained quote this is the worst start to a month I have seen in my seven years with the company another wondered where the consumers. And Mexico bribery scandal that seem to dominate much of 2012 headlines. That combined with the horse meat issue in Europe. It provides fodder for the skeptics out there. Take a look at the stock it's down 1% in premarket at 13% from last year. Some companies reporting later today AIG expect the -- to discuss its plans to return capital to investors and pay off debt. The future once the world's largest mail address expansion plans. Now it's free from government ownership having paid off its one and 82 billion dollar bail out. HP due out earnings after the bell shareholders are expected to focus on signs CEO meg -- much touted turnaround plan. Are actually making a difference following the Dell deal investors also wanna know the company has plans for sale or break up. And last but not least Chesapeake Energy handily beating earnings estimate but posting a profit in the same period last year. The company had a challenging 2012 after were uncovered a bid rigging scandal at the natural gas producer. CEO Aubrey McClendon riding off into the sunset is April investors will want to take a closer look at the company's succession plan. Shares of Chesapeake up 2% in the premarket. US stock futures point to a lower start today -- -- people to extend losses after its biggest daily fall in three months. Economists will get another look at housing sector when the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales data. That's expected to show a slight decline. Also in the macro outlook for jobless claims data from last week and the Consumer Price Index for January. Some stocks to watch this morning and you may want to put yours down -- you've heard this first one. Breakfast cereal making it maker Kellogg is recalling. 36000. Packages of its special K red berries cereal because they could contain dangerous the last fragments. Prominent investment start today. But shares of -- have had a good start to 2013. The stock's risen 5% so far this year and twelve and a half percent in 2012. JPMorgan may be eating crow for breakfast the US Justice Department has opened an investigation of the bank. Over allegations that Bear Stearns provided misleading information about its mortgage products leading up to the financial crisis. JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns in 2008 fire sale encouraged by the government. Switching to another big banks Citigroup's chairman Michael O'Neill says he's not in favor of a break up according to the Wall Street Journal. O'Neal was among a small group of directors who urged the bank to weigh the benefits of splitting up after financial crisis. He twice now saying the current economic and regulatory uncertainty make for bad timing. One guy -- in favor breaking up all the big banks is Dallas fed president Richard Fisher. We have an exclusive interview with the notorious bad -- at 11 AM eastern. That's it for your Thursday morning. On Twitter at latest inside and get it at Reuters dot com slash he. I'm Lisa Bernhard it.