GM’s Share Buyback, Sirius’s New CEO, and Knight Capital’s Merger

Markets closed down Wednesday after a mixed period, possibly due to prevailing hopes that budget talks in Washington continue to move forward.

At the close: S&P: -0.76%, Nasdaq: -0.33%, Dow: -0.74%.

Here’s what’s buzzing in the Afternoon:

Shares of Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) continue to climb after releasing strong earnings on Tuesday evening. Revenues grew 3.4 percent year-over-year to $9.09 billion, while net income rose 17.7 percent year-over-year to $2.58 billion or $0.53 per share.

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) announced that it will purchase 200 million shares of common stock from the U.S. treasury at $27.50 per share, bringing the total to $5.5 billion. At the same time, the Treasury announced its intention to fully exit its investment in GM in 12 to 15 months, subject to market conditions. The Treasury currently holds just over 500.1 million shares of GM common stock. Shares climbed 7.69 percent in the afternoon.

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Knight Capital Group, Inc. (NYSE:KCG), the market-making high-frequency trading firm that faced bankruptcy after a $440 million trading glitch over the summer, announced that it will merge with GETCO Holding Company. The cash-and-stock transaction values Knight at approximately $1.4 billion. The combined entity will be publicly traded. Shares climbed as much as 5.71 percent in the afternoon.

SIRIUS XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) announced that James Meyer, president of sales and operations, has been appointed interim CEO effective immediately, following the exit of Mel Karmazin. Meyer will also join the board of directors in Karmazin’s place. Shares climbed 0.34 percent in the afternoon.

UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) has agreed to pay 1.4 billion Swiss francs ($1.54 billion) to U.S., U.K., and Swiss authorities to settle investigations related to the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal. UBS also acknowledged that dozens of employees were involved in the widespread rate-rigging scheme.

Defense Budget is Set: The U.S. House and Senate have agreed to $640.7 billion in defense legislation for fiscal year 2013. Of that total, $552.2 billion, or about 86 percent, is reserved for base national defense, and $88.5 billion, or nearly 14 percent, has been allocated for Overseas Contingencies Operations.

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