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  • Qualcomm rumors lift Atheros. Shares of Atheros Communications (ATHR) jumped nearly 19% yesterday to $44 on media reports that Qualcomm (QCOM) is in advanced talks to buy the semiconductor company. Qualcomm is reportedly prepared to offer $45/share, or $3.5B, for the company, which will give it inroads into the tablet PC, laptop, and desktop markets. Sources said the deal is expected to be announced this morning, though they cautioned that last-minute negotiations could still fall apart. Update, 7:30am ET: Qualcomm agrees to buy Atheros for $45/share, representing an enterprise value of $3.1B. Here's the press release.
  • AIG gets bids for Nan Shan. AIG (AIG) said it was offered as much as $3B for its Taiwan-based Nan Shan unit, according to a newly-disclosed letter sent to the SEC on Nov. 12. AIG didn't specify which prospective buyers placed the bids which ranged from $2.15B to $3B. If AIG can pull off a sale at $3B, it will be quite a victory, as it has previously agreed to sell the unit for $2.15B before Taiwanese regulators blocked the deal.
  • Borders tries to squeeze publishers. Borders (BGP), which has already delayed payments to many of its vendors, is expected to ask publishers today to push back the due dates on bills. The bookstore chain is trying to refinance senior credit facilities, and previously warned it may violate the terms of its debt as soon as this quarter. It's unclear whether publishers would agree to such a request.
  • FDIC sues 109 former bank execs. The FDIC, which previously said it was pursuing legal action against unspecified officials, said yesterday that it has authorized professional liability lawsuits against 109 former executives of failed U.S. banks, and is seeking to recoup at least $2.5B in losses connected to the failure of those banks. The suits claim 'either gross or simple negligence,' and the disclosure suggests civil suits may follow.
  • Auto sales climb. All automakers except Toyota (TM) enjoyed gains as U.S. sales rose for the 11th consecutive month. December sales were up 11%, equivalent to an annualized sales pace of 12.6M vehicles when seasonal factors are accounted for. Overall, 2010 sales came in at 11.6M vehicles. Analysts believe 2011 sales could reach 13M, an important macro data point for the overall economy. Among December's highlights: GM (GM) +7.5% to 223,932 vehicles, its best month of 2010. Ford (F) +6.7% to 190,976 vehicles. Chrysler (OTCPK:FIATY) +16% to 100,702 vehicles. Toyota (TM) -5.5% to 177,488 vehicles.
  • FOMC stands by QE2. There were no surprises in the FOMC minutes released yesterday. Fed officials stood behind their bond purchases as long-term interest rates rose, saying: "While the economic outlook was seen as improving, members generally felt that the change in the outlook was not sufficient to warrant any adjustments to the asset-purchase program." Some members noted that they needed more time before they would consider any changes. Stocks showed little reaction to the minutes.
  • U.S. rules against Chinese pipe dumping. The U.S. Commerce Department issued a final ruling yesterday that China was selling steel drill pipe in the U.S. market at an unfairly low price. The U.S. had already placed preliminary countervailing duties of up to 429% on the Chinese pipes, but this final ruling now moves the issue to the International Trade Commission which will determine whether U.S. firms have been damaged as a result of the dumping.
  • Time Warner, KKR among bidders for Turkish media assets. Time Warner (TWX), KKR (KKR) and TPG Capital are said to be on the short list of potential buyers for assets belonging to Dogan Yayin, Turkey's biggest media group. The starting price on the assets is expected to be in the range of $1.6B-1.8B. Separately, Dogan Yayin, with the help of Goldman Sachs (GS), is also preparing to sell its flagship Hurriyet daily. Sources said initial bids will be invited on Feb. 1.

Earnings: Tuesday After Close

  • Mosaic Company (MOS): FQ2 EPS of $1.01 beats by $0.10. Revenue of $2.7B (+56.4% Y/Y) beats by $239M. Shares +3.2% AH. (PR)

Today's Markets

  • In Asia, Japan -0.2% to 10381. Hong Kong +0.4% to 23758. China -0.5% to 2839. India -1.0% to 20301.
  • In Europe, at midday, London -0.6%. Paris -1.4%. Frankfurt -1.4%.
  • Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.6%. S&P -0.75%. Nasdaq -0.7%. Crude -1.2% to $88.31. Gold +0.1% to $1380.30.

Wednesday's Economic Calendar

The SA Currents team contributed to this post.


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Source: Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News