Volkswagen hitting the gas, BMW running on electric, China slamming the brakes and poker crashing online. Bank of America's earnings, previewed Thursday, were disappointing. Here's what we're watching for Monday:
1. Life in the Citi: Following Friday's big miss from Bank of America,Citigroup is the next uberbank up to the plate. The consensus forecast calls for 9 cents a share when the financial giant reports quarterly earnings first thing Monday morning. Analysts anticipate strength with Citi's retail banking and weakness triggered by a significant decline in investment banking revenue. What we already know: the stock has been a loser since trading at a year-to-date high of $5.15 in January.
2. China Turns Down the Heat: On Sunday, China announced a hike in reserve requirements for banks, on the heels of Friday's consumer price index indicating a 5.4% pop for March. The move comes little more than a week after China's Central Bank announced an interest rate hike. Inflation remains the name of the game, with its economy still humming along at a nearly 10 percent growth rate. Sounds like a good problem to have, right?
3. New Beemer, New Beatle: BMW will unveil its first fully-electric model: the BMW Active E. Intrigued? Well, it'll only be available in select urban markets in California and the Northeast. Meanwhile, Volkswagen plans to introduce the third generation Beetle, and the company hopes the once iconic car can stoke some magic again. With a new plant soon coming online in Tennessee, VW is determined to show that it can win in this country.
4. Blood on the Table: In more than a bad beat, federal authorities shut down three of the major poker sites Friday, raising the stakes in the government's war on internet gambling. Since legislation was enacted under President George W. Bush to prevent money transfers to and from such websites, Friday's crackdown marked the largest attack on an industry now left in tatters. Companies that could feel residual pain include Harrah's — owner of the World Series of Poker — as well as ESPN — the event's broadcaster. Many of the entries and much of the interest for the annual events come directly from the sites now drawing dead.
5. Uncle Sam Needs You: Over the weekend, world finance ministers pummeled the United States regarding its growing debt, as part of the semi-annual World Bank-IMF talks. Monday, we all get to do our part: filing 2010 taxes!! Then again, 45 percent of American households won't pay any federal income taxes this year (according to the Tax Policy Center). So, it's really a flip of the coin on whether you owe anything.