Small Gains, A Huge Sale, and Dish Network’s Folly: Mid-Day Buzzers

Stock futures are edging down on Monday afternoon as lawmakers head back to Washington after the Thanksgiving weekend. President Barack Obama and GOP leaders aren’t expected to meet until next week after staffers have had time to re-hash each party’s proposed solutions to the fiscal cliff.

Despite indecision surrounding the looming cliff, the holiday weekend was a tremendous success for retailers. The National Retail Federation reported that 35 million shoppers visited stores or websites on Thursday, a 20-percent increase year over year. About 89 million shoppers visited stores or websites on Black Friday, a 3.4-percent increase from last year. Total weekend spending is estimated at $59.1 billion, up 13.1 percent from last year.

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The world of online advertising could soon see its own version of the legal mess that surrounds Dish Network’s (NASDAQ:DISH) ad-skipping Hopper DVR. Eyeo, which develops AdBlock Plus, the world’s most commonly used ad-blocking software, is slated to release a mobile version of its product, throwing yet another obstacle in the way of mobile monetization for companies like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

Meanwhile, shares of Facebook are trading up as much as 8.01 percent in the afternoon on an upgrade from analysts at Bernstein Research.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) announced its intention to sell its 8.4 percent stake in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement to ONGC Vidseh Limited, the international arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp. India. ConocoPhillips is expected to earn about $5 billion from the transaction.

J. C. Penney Company (NYSE:JCP) continues its downward trend and declined 1.21 percent today afternoon. Shares are up 4 percent over the last five trading days after having tanked over 30 percent over the last month.

After substantial gains at the end of last week, shares of Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) continue to climb ahead of the expected January 30 launch of BlackBerry 10. Shares are up over 30 percent in the last five trading days.

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