Jobless Claims, Buyout Speculation, and Bad Bank Behavior: Afternoon Buzzers

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Markets closed up on Thursday following a slight drop in jobless claims. The United States Department of Labor reports that adjusted initial claims for the week ending December 1 dropped 6.3 percent to 370,000. However, the four-week moving average grew 0.5 percent to 408,000.

Here’s what’s buzzing this morning on Wall Street:

iBuilt in the U.S.A.: Chasing some negative reports about the ethics of manufacturing in China (from both a labor and economic perspective), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek that the company will invest over $100 million to transfer some Mac computer manufacturing capacity to the U.S.

Energy Sector Consolidation: Buyout buzz in the energy sector continues to build with speculation that Australian diversified natural resources company BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE:BHP) could be interested in buying Walter Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WLT), a mid-cap American coal company. Shares of Walter Energy climbed 5.34 percent on Thursday.

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A Large Fine for a Large Bank: Reuters reports that Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC), could be forced to pay a fine as high as $1.8 billion. U.S. authorities claim that the bank suffered a lack of security and oversight in its money-laundering controls in Mexico, among other accusations. Earlier in November, the bank put away $1.5 billion in anticipation of a possible penalty.

The SEC is Looking for Skeletons: The ever-busy Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly investigating claims that Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) hid as much as $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis. Deutsche Bank was one of the few major banks to escape the crisis without state help, reporting just one year of losses before returning to profit. Deutsche Bank is cooperating with the SEC and claims the allegations are unfounded.

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