Apple’s Lost Bid, Wal-Mart’s Bad Behavior, and Fiscal Cliff Progress: Morning Buzzers

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Markets trekked upward on Tuesday morning, spurred by more substantive news out of Washington regarding the fiscal cliff discussions.

At 11:48 AM: S&P: +0.81%, Nasdaq: +1.14%, Dow: +0.61.

Here’s what’s buzzing in the Morning: 

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the entire, exhausting patent battle between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF), has denied Apple’s bid to ban the sale of certain Samsung devices in the country. Koh concluded that a sales ban wasn’t warranted since the infringing features were small parts of a larger feature set.

The New York Times published an investigation into Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), alleging that the Mexico arm of the world’s largest retailer “was an aggressive and creative  corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited.” The Times report follows an internal investigating by Wal-Mart in 2006 that was shut down by the company’s leaders despite reportedly turning up a wealth of evidence.

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United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) is once again sweetening its bid for TNT Express, an international delivery service headquartered in the Netherlands. European anti-trust officials have been unsure whether the combined entity would represent a threat to fair competition, and the U.S. delivery giant has repeatedly made concessions in order to push a deal through.

Another Step in the Right Direction: Over the weekend, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that he would consider fiscal cliff solutions that included tax hikes on those making more than $1 million per year in. This was a massive concession from the GOP and opened the door to real negotiations between the two parties. President Barack Obama has reportedly come back to the table with a proposed cut-off line at of $400,000.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) has announced that it will sell its Algerian business unit to Pertamina for about $1.75 billion. The sale is part of a larger disposition program that is expected to generate about $7 billion when complete.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has reportedly bought a 35 percent stake in Rock Creek Group LP, a hedge-fund firm based in Washington that oversees about $7 billion. The move is a step toward the bank’s goal of doubling its asset-management unit within seven years.

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