Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: SA Editor Yigal Grayeff
SA Editor Yigal Grayeff
Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day and delivered to over 900,000 email subscribers.

WaMu to distribute $7B after settling dispute. Washington Mutual will soon be able to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings and distribute $7B to creditors after certain shareholders agreed to drop legal claims against settlement noteholders. In September, a judge had rejected WaMu's second attempt to end its bankruptcy due to disputes between the sides.

Apple eyes Israel's Anobit for up to $500M. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has finally found something to do with a fraction of its cash mountain: Reports out of Israel tip off that Apple is in advanced talks to buy flash storage firm Anobit for as much as $500M. The firm's chips are already embedded in devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air.

AOL to reorganize into four units. AOL (NYSE:AOL) CEO Tim Armstrong plans to revive the struggling company with a reorganization in which he will combine its dial-up Internet access operations with its Web services, including AOL Instant Messenger. The idea is to get consumers with AOL accounts to use more of the company’s features. The new group will be part of four units, the others being advertising, local services and the Huffington Post media group.

AT&T has month to decide on T-Mobile deal. A judge has given AT&T (NYSE:T) until January 12 to decide whether it wants to continue with its $39B acquisition of T-Mobile USA (OTCQX:DTEGY). In reaction, AT&T said it was "considering whether and how to revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals." Many experts believe the deal is doomed, with antitrust lawyer Evan Stewart saying it's "suffering the death by a thousand cuts."

Van Rompuy admits legal problems for fiscal union pact. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy hopes the EU's fiscal union pact will be finalized by March but admitted that legal issues will make it difficult to implement, especially because of Britain's veto. Van Rompuy's comments may well only add to the skepticism about the pact, as will doubts in Finland. "The more you hear from the European leaders, and the less you see implemented, the more skeptical you are," says JP Morgan strategist Rebecca Patterson.

Spanish and Belgian yields fall in auctions. As with Italy yesterday, despite the doubts surrounding the EU's fiscal union deal, yields fell in Spanish and Belgian bond auctions. Spain sold €4.94B of 12- and 18-month paper with yields about 100 basis points lower than a similar sale one month ago. Demand was strong, with the bid to cover ratio of 4.97 allowing the government to move more than the €3.25B-€4.25B it had hoped for.

Rio on course to take control of Ivanhoe. The way is open for Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) to take over Canada's Ivanhoe Mines (IVN), in which it already owns 49%, after an arbitrator ruled that Ivanhoe's "poison pill" takeover defense doesn't apply to Rio. Controlling Ivanhoe, which is worth $15.3B, will give Rio a majority stake in the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project in Mongolia.

Liffe on the block to keep exchange merger alive. Deutsche Boerse (OTCPK:DBOEY) and the NYSE (NYSE:NYX) have formally offered to sell Liffe, the London-based derivatives exchange, in an effort to get their deal past the antitrust concerns of European regulators. The two also promise rivals better access to their clearinghouse, and will license the Eurex trading system to a 3rd party.

Pfizer's Lipitor loses 15% market share. Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) Lipitor cholesterol pill lost about 15% of its market share in the first few days after its patent protection ended on November 30. To keep shareholders sweet, Pfizer has expanded a buyback program by up to $10B and increased its dividend to $0.22 from $0.20. The pharmaceutical manufacturer has also named CEO Ian Read as Chairman.

Can the Fed get any more explicit? The FOMC is due to meet today for a policy meeting, when it will probably discuss becoming more explicit about the direction of interest rates, although it's likely to hold off on more stimulus. As market currents editor Stephen Alpher asks, though, how much more explicit can the Fed be? "Is there anyone who doesn't know zero rates will continue for several more years? What if something changes requiring rates to be adjusted? What good would an explicit forecast have been then?"

Agreement close over foreclosure practices - again. Mortgage lenders and authorities could reach a deal this week in which banks will pay states $19B to settle claims of inappropriate repossession practices, and $25B if California is involved, The Wall Street Journal reports. New York, which had left the talks, has remained "engaged" in the process. However, some issues still need to be ironed out, including the person who will act as monitor and enforce the agreement.

Deal agreed on 2012 government funding. Legislators could today publish a massive spending bill that will ensure funding through next year for certain government departments, including health and education. The publication will come after Republicans and Democrats agreed to a deal ahead of the expiry of temporary spending measures on Friday. While there are still some details to be completed, the upcoming Christmas break should keep minds focused.

Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan -1.2% to 8553. Hong Kong -0.7% to 18447. China -1.9% to 2249. India +0.8% to 16003.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.7%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt +0.8%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.3%. S&P +0.4%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.8% to $98.53. Gold +0.1% to $1670.20.

Tuesday's economic calendar:
Q1 Manpower Quarterly U.S. Employment Outlook Survey
7:30 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:30 Retail Sales
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:00 Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index
10:00 Business Inventories
10:00 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey
1:00 PM Results of $21B, 10-Year Note Auction
2:15 PM FOMC Meeting

Earnings Results: Companies that beat EPS expectations last night and today include Synergetics (OTCQB:SURG).

Those in line include Avanir Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AVNR).

For full real-time earnings coverage, please click here.

Notable earnings before Tuesday's open: BBY

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