Big Deals, Big Write-Offs, and Better GDP: Market Recap

Markets closed up Thursday, despite the stalled fiscal cliff discussions in Washington.

At the close: S&P: +0.55%, Nasdaq: +0.20%, Dow: +0.45%.

Here’s what’s buzzing Thursday:NYSE

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), which operates market places for futures and over-the-counter energy and commodity contracts as well as derivatives, is reportedly engaged in talks to buy NYSE Euronext, Inc. (NYSE:NYX), which owns the New York Stock Exchange. ICE has offered $33.12 per share, valuing the deal at about $8.2 billion.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has agreed to sell its Motorola Home business, which sells TV set-top boxes, to Arris Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ARRS), a cable equipment maker, for $2.35 billion in cash and stock. Shares of Arris group climbed 4.30 percent in the afternoon, while Google climbed fractionally.

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile-network equipment, announced on Thursday that it would have to write off the full value of its joint venture with STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE:STM), a semiconductor company.

The third estimate for GDP growth in the third quarter has been released, and the news keeps getting better. The latest estimate pegs third-quarter GDP growth at 3.1 percent, up from the 2.7 percent growth previously estimated. Strong third-quarter growth follows weak second-quarter growth of just 1.3 percent.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended December 15 have also been released. The report shows a 4.9 percent increase in first-time claims to 361,000. The four-week moving average dropped 3.6 percent to 367,750.