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  • BHP may bid for Anadarko. BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) may be planning a bid for Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) as BHP CEO Marius Kloppers is 'desperate' to complete an acquisition. According to media reports, BHP is lining up a $90/share cash bid for Anadarko, one of the world's largest independent oil and gas exploration companies. Premarket: BHP +0.3%, APC +3.2% to $72.99 (7:00 ET).
  • Another arrest in insider trading probe. Authorities made another arrest in connection to their ongoing insider trading probe, charging a former expert-networking consultant with selling inside information to portfolio managers at three unidentified hedge funds. Winifred Jiau allegedly sold information companies such as Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL), and received $200,000 in exchange. Jiau is the seventh person connected to expert-network firm Primary Global Research to be charged with insider trading.
  • New owner for John Hancock tower. Boston Properties (NYSE:BXP) completed its purchase yesterday of the 62-story John Hancock Tower for $930M. Normandy Real Estate Partners and Five Mile Capital Partners bought the building at a foreclosure auction 18 months ago for $660.6M. The deal is reflective of the rebounding optimism in the commercial real estate market, as buildings begin to recover some of their value and investors look for solid properties with good cash flow.
  • ArcelorMittal extends Baffinland offer. ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) extended the deadline on its friendly takeover bid for Baffinland Iron Mines, but didn't change the financial terms of the offer from C$1.25/share. The offer, which was meant to expire yesterday at midnight, will now run through Jan. 10, 2011. The announcement came after rival Nunavut Iron Ore sweetened its hostile bid for control of Baffinland to C$1.40/share for 60% of the outstanding shares. Shares of Toronto-listed Baffinland closed at C$1.34 yesterday. Premarket: MT -0.4% (7:00 ET).
  • Sony joins patent suit battle. Sony (NYSE:SNE) filed a complaint yesterday with the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging that LG Electronics violated patents involving its mobile phone technologies. Sony is asking the ITC to bar imports of LG products that violate its patents. This is the latest in a very long string of patent suits being hurled around the mobile phone market, including suits by Nokia (NYSE:NOK) against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Motorola (MOT) against Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Apple against HTC, Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) against Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)...
  • New record for e-commerce. E-commerce spending during the holiday season reached a new record, reported comScore, with $30.8B spent to date. It's a 13% increase from the same period last year, while the $2.45B spent in the most recent week was a 17% increase from the year before. The massive snowstorm that hit the U.S. Northeast over the last week helped lift post-Christmas spending as well.
  • Air-traffic growth slows. Air-traffic growth slowed in November, reported the International Air Transport Association, in part because of inclement weather in Europe which disrupted flights. International passenger-traffic volume was up 8.2% from the year before, but below the 10% growth recorded in October and the 10.7% growth in September.
  • Lockheed Martin wins Navy contract. The Navy awarded two major contracts yesterday to Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and the U.S. unit of Australia's Austal. Lockheed will receive as much as $3.6B to build 10 vessels between now and 2015 for a new class of warship known as the Littoral Combat Ship. Austal will receive $3.5B to do the same.
  • JPMorgan sued over Ponzi scheme. JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and several other defendants were sued in connection to Tom Petters' $3.65B Ponzi scheme. Receiver Douglas Kelley said the defendants received more than $300M from Petters' scheme, and that the windfall "gave JPMorgan an incentive to ignore red flags that would have revealed the massive Ponzi scheme." Petters was sentenced in April to 50 years in prison.

Today's Markets

  • In Asia, Japan -1.1% to 10229. Hong Kong +0.1% to 22999. China +0.3% to 2760. India +0.7% to 20389.
  • In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris -0.7%. Frankfurt -1.0%.
  • Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude -0.5% to $90.70. Gold -0.15% to $1411.40.

Thursday's Economic Calendar

The SA Currents team contributed to this post.


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Source: Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News