Market Wrap: Obama/Boehner Near Final Days of 'Cliff'; Morgan Stanley Fined on Facebook; Sprint (Barely) Boosts Bid for Clearwire

December 17, 2012 5:18 PM EST
Market wrap-up for December 17th

End of the Day: S&P 500 up 16.8 to 1,430.36; Dow Jones up 100.4 to 13,235.39; Nasdaq up 39.3 to 3,010.60

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

* President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met again today to discuss further action to avert the impending fiscal cliff. This was the first time the two met since last Friday, when Boehner said he would be ready to support increased tax rates on those making $1 million or more per year. Boehner said he wanted the White House to offer better spending cuts.

Results of the meeting, which lasted about 45 minutes, weren't disclosed.

* Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) was fined $5 million by Massachusetts securities regulator in connection with the Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) IPO last May. The regulator said Morgan Stanley had "improper influence" on research analysts covering the offering.

Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said that Morgan Stanley's bankers provided analysts with information not properly disclosed with Facebook's registration filing.

* Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the approximately 50 percent stake in Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) it does not currently own for $2.97 per share, equating to a total payment to Clearwire shareholders, other than Sprint, of $2.2 billion. This transaction results in a total Clearwire enterprise value of approximately $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion.

For more color on the deal, click here.

* Days after it was first mentioned, General Electric (NYSE: GE) was rumored to be in late-stage talks to acquire Avio, a privately-held Italian airplane parts supplier. The deal is valued at €3 billion (about $4 billion) according to some sources. An announcement could be made as soon as Thursday, though talks could still fall apart.

About two-thirds of Avio's business is with GE, making the acquisition a smart one that should see easy integration.

* Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) sold two million iPhone 5 units over the weekend, while Citi downgraded the stock to Neutral, lopping its price target by $100 to $575. For more color, click here.

* Caribou Coffee Company, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBOU) and the Joh. A. Benckiser Group (JAB) announced a definitive merger agreement under which an affiliate of JAB will acquire Caribou for $16.00 per share in cash, or a total of approximately $340 million.

Some analysts think Caribou should be going for twice as much per share. For more color, click here.

* Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) spat with U.S. regulators over how competitors were ranked in search results may come to an end this year, following a two-year probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, whom is widely expected to step down at the end of 2012, wanted the case wrapped up before the end of the year.

Some changes expected in Google's business practices include stemming "scraping" (using reviews from other websites for its own product sales) and timing on sales bans when filing patent infringement lawsuits, whether or not the patent is an essential standard.

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