Apple Swings Up and the Government Wipes its Hands: Mid-Day Buzzers

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Markets trekked up on Tuesday afternoon, possibly echoing German investor confidence, which jumped in December.

At 12:55pM: S&P: +0.95%, Nasdaq: +1.40%, Dow: +0.67%.

Here’s what’s buzzing on Tuesday Afternoon:

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) climbed as much as 2.96 percent in the afternoon, which could be the beginnings of another swing for the moody stock.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) “has and continues to engage in a pattern of intentionally charging its customers residential delivery fees for deliveries to obviously non-residential addresses,” alleges a lawyer for plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the package delivery company, according to Bloomberg. FedEx is accused of violating federal civil racketeering laws.

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Whose Discount is More Attractive? Echoing a strategy used by many car manufacturers who find themselves stuck between low demand and overcapacity, General Motors (NYSE:GM) is reportedly gearing up to offer steep incentives on Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras. Automakers offering discounts in order to clear inventory have to walk a fine line between appealing to customers who want cheap cars, and appealing to investors who want fat bottom lines.

The Government Washes its Hands… The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to sell its remaining 234 million shares in American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) at $32.50 per share, adding $7.6 billion in profit from the final sale, for a grand total of $22.7 billion in profit since 2008.

… And Keeps its Money Clean: After accusing Europe’s biggest bank of failing to enforce anti-money-laundering rules, the U.S. Department of Justice will reportedly settle with HSBC Holdings (NYSE:HBC) for a record $1.92 billion.

Will the Fed Grow its Balance Sheet? Nearly every economist polled by Bloomberg – 48 out of 49 — predicts that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will announce a $45 billion per month bond-buyback program to replace Operation Twist, which is set to expire at the end of the year. The Fed is meeting this week for the last time in 2012.

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