Bernanke’s new gig, and Mattel tries to save Barbie — 5 things to know today

April 16, 2015, 12:24 PM UTC
A Barbie doll is arranged for a photo in Cambridge, Massachu
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 14: A Barbie doll is arranged for a photo in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007. Mattel Inc. is recalling 18.6 million Chinese-made products around the world, its second recall in two weeks, mostly because they contain magnets that may fall out and be swallowed by children. The recall includes 18.2 million Barbie, Polly Pocket and Batman toys with magnets, the world's biggest toymaker said today in a statement. (Photo by Jb Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Photograph by Jb Reed — Bloomberg/Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures aren’t moving much this morning. European shares are mostly lower, while Asian markets closed up for the day.

A handful of banks are reporting earnings Thursday, including Citigroup (C), which reported a 16% jump in quarterly profit as legal and restructuring costs fell, and Goldman Sachs (GS), which reported a 41% rise in first-quarter profit, helped by a burst of trading activity in January.

Here’s what else you need to know about.

1. Can Mattel make Barbie cool again?

Mattel (MAT) reports its first-quarter earnings after the market close today, and analysts will be looking for any hope that Mattel can staunch its losses and make its flagship Barbie toy popular again. The largest toy maker is anticipated to report a loss of 9 cents a share, up from a loss of 3 cents a share a year earlier. Mattel has plans to bring 78 new Barbies to retail shelves by the end of the year, which will highlight greater diversity and a talking version called “Hello Barbie.” Barbie’s new look will also include a superhero themed assortment.

The list of other companies reporting earnings today includes American Express (AXP), and Philip Morris International (PM).

2. Ben Bernanke joins Citadel Investment.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has signed on to advise one of Wall Street’s biggest hedge funds. Bernanke will become a senior advisor to the Citadel Investment Group, the hedge fund that oversees $25 billion and was founded by billionaire Kenneth Griffin. Bernanke will be tasked with analyzing the global economy and financial issues in order to provide context to Citadel’s investment committees.

3. Etsy and Virtu make their debut.

Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, priced shares of its initial public offering at the high end of its proposed range. At $16 per share, Etsy is valued at $1.78 billion. Its shares will begin trading this morning on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “ETSY.”

Virtu Financial, the high-frequency trading platform, also priced its shares at the top of its projected range at $19 a share. That values one of the world’s largest high-frequency trading companies at $2.6 billion. The company had postponed its IPO last year after the Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys” raised concerns about high-frequency trading. The stock will debut on the Nasdaq today under the ticker symbol “VIRT.”
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4. GM is spared from ignition-switch suits.

General Motors (GM) escaped billions of dollars in potential liability connected to defects in its ignition switches that resulted in the deaths of 84 people. A U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York ruled that the automaker cannot be sued the lost value in the affected cars. GM was facing a suit claiming $10 billion in lost value for 27 million recalled cars. That indicates that GM is safe from being sued for its errors prior to the bankruptcy, although it can still be held accountable for its actions following its 2009 bailout.

5. Indian companies ditch Facebook initiative.

A group of prominent Indian tech and media firms have backed away from, the initiative started by Facebook to provide free access to certain websites in the developing world. Critics, which includes the media giant Times Group, say the initiative violates net neutrality rules because it favors some online traffic over others. Facebook (FB) launched intending to connect those without Internet to free access to 37 websites or apps, including its own. But the project is breaking down in India where the net neutrality debate has been raging.
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