Avis Buys Zipcar and New iPhone Speculation: Morning Buzzers

Markets took off like rockets on Wednesday morning following post-last-minute fiscal cliff deal out of Washington. Finally free from much of the paralyzing uncertainty that preceded the New Year, 2013 is kicking off its first day of trading on an up-beat note.

Here’s how stocks were trading at 10:04 a.m.: S&P: +2.15%, Nasdaq: +2.63%, Dow: +2.04%.

Still ahead, the debt ceiling, which the United States hit two days ago, and the sequester, the spending cuts that were delayed for two months, presumably so lawmakers would have time to work through the debt ceiling issue.

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Here’s what’s buzzing on Wednesday Morning:lots of iphones

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is off to the races following a report that the company could already be testing a new iPhone and the next version of iOS. Developers reportedly found references to a new iPhone identifier using a new iOS in app usage logs.

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) soared over 6 percent in the pre-market. New Year’s optimism could be waking up bulls for the semiconductor company, who started building a case in December after a long slide from April to November seemed to finally bottom out.

Shares of Avis Budget Group (NYSE:CAR) also enjoyed a boost on Wednesday morning after announcing that it will acquire car-sharing pioneer Zipcar (NASDAQ:ZIP) for nearly $500 million, or $12.25 per share, a 49 percent premium over Monday’s closing price. According to a statement released by Avis, car sharing has grown to a $400 million business in the U.S., and is rapidly growing.

Expectations are high for December U.S. car sales data, slated to be released on Thursday. Total 2012 sales figures are expected to hit about 14.5 million, with December sales showing an annualized pace over 15 million. Polk predicts new vehicle registrations to break 15 million in 2013. Shares of Ford Motor (NYSE:F) climbed as much as 2 percent in the pre-market.

U.S. lawmakers finally reached an inital agreement on the fiscal cliff, removing much of the paralyzing uncertainty that as weighed on the markets for the past few months. The deal signed on Tuesday mostly addresses tax issues, while delaying the sequester for two months so that Congress can focus on the debt ceiling, which was hit on December 31.

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