Market Wrap: Obama Calls for Debt Ceiling Action; JPMorgan Must Change Practices; Who Wants Dell?

January 14, 2013 5:23 PM EST
Market wrap-up for January 14th

End of the Day: S&P 500 down 1.4 to 1,479.68; Dow Jones up 18.9 to 13,507.32; Nasdaq down 8.1 tp 3,117.50

The following is a brief summary of events moving markets today:

* President Obama held the final press conference of his first term before being sworn in on January 20th for another four years. If you had to sum up the event in six words it would be this: We need to pay our bills. Obama emphasized how Congress wanted him to spend, but there was no action on the debt ceiling.

The U.S. hit the limit at the end of 2012 with the Treasury taking extraordinary measures to free up another $200 billion. That is expected to last two months under normal circumstances, though many expect the well to dry up weeks before the end of February.

* Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) saw overall pressure as speculation surrounded whether or not the drop-off in iPhone 5 sales for January and February would be larger than expected. Those following Apple might have noted several similar news items over the past several weeks hinting that a drop off might occur. For more color, click here.

* Dell, Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) ripped today following headlines that the PC maker might go private. CEO and founder Michael Dell mentioned his desire to take the company private in 2010, though nothing came to fruition. For more color on chatter, click here.

* United Parcel Service's (NYSE: UPS) multi-billion dollar bid for TNT Express came to a screeching halt Monday as the European Commission is moving to prohibit the transaction. After two proposal revisions and a competitive review process, the EC ultimately sees the merger as bad for competition. UPS will pay TNT a €200 million termination fee. For more color, click here.

* Fiserv (Nasdaq: FISV) reported the acquisition of account processing provider Open Software for $55 million in cash and the assumption of $960 million of debt. For more on the deal, click here.

* Harry Winston Diamond Corp (NYSE: HWD) announced entering an agreement to sell its luxury brand diamond jewelry and timepiece division, Harry Winston Inc., to The Swatch Group Ltd. for $750 million plus their assumption of up to $250 million of pro forma net debt. For details of the deal, click here.

* Following the massive "London whale" trade and fallout disclosed earlier this year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a cease-and-desist order against J.P. Morgan (NYSE: JPM) today. The OCC is seeking J. P. Morgan to change CIO and anti-money laundering oversight practices. For more, click here.

* Transocean (NYSE: RIG) management got a pleasant surprise: activist investor Carl Icahn took a 1.56 percent stake in the company and is looking to acquire more. Investors might view Icahn's stake as a positive for Transocean and the news comes just one week following a $1.4 billion settlement with the U.S over the Deepwater Horizon rig incident of 2010.

* General Motors (NYSE: GM) debuted its sleek new 2014 Corvette at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit over the weekend. Much attention was paid to the Stingray version of the auto, which harkens back to the heyday of Detroit muscle.

A portion of the focus at NAIAS this year will be on autos getting lighter. With only a few components in today's vehicles being made from lighter weight materials, some suspect that in four to six years vehicles could see wider use of materials like magnesium, carbon fiber, and more.

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