Intel TV Rumors and the DoJ’s New Anti-Trust Chief

Markets closed up at the end of Monday’s trading session. Congress has until midnight to reach an agreement on how to deal with the fiscal cliff. Barring an eleventh-hour solution, lawmakers could find a solution early in the New Year that would retroactively renew tax cuts or prevent unwanted austerity.

At the close: S&P: +1.69%, Nasdaq: +2.00%, Dow: +1.28%.

All three major indices are down more than 2.8 percent over the last five trading days.

 Here’s what’s buzzing today:Gavel

People with knowledge of the situation tell The New York Times that U.S. regulators are nearing a settlement with over a dozen banks related to foreclosure abuses such as faulty paperwork and excessive fees, which may have led to unlawful evictions during the housing crisis. The government is reportedly seeking up to $10 billion from the banks, with about $3.75 billion going to people who have already lost their homes.

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TechCrunch speculates on rumors that Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is getting ready to launch a “virtual cable TV service and set top box” on a city-by-city basis. Intel is reportedly trying to convince cable providers to un-bundle channels and provide customers with a mix of traditional TV and streaming digital content. A version of the device could be revealed as early as January 7 at CES.

The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Bill Baer as the Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division. He is the first person to permanently hold the post since August 2011 when Christine Varney stepped down. Baer, a well-established antitrust lawyer, already faces several high-profile cases, such as the ongoing inquiry into Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and whether or not it is abusing its market power by favoring its own services in search results, and allegations that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and book publishers conspired to fix e-book prices.

Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, as well as 23 television stations and 50 websites, has emerged from Chapter 11 and perhaps jumped right into the crosshairs of News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS)(NASDAQ:NWSA). Rupurt Murdoch has reportedly expressed interest in the newspaper’s assets.

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