$1 Billion Hulu Bids, Apple and Bank of America Due in Court: Morning Buzzers

U.S. stocks advanced on Monday morning ahead of key reports on the health of the manufacturing sector. A separate manufacturing report out of China showed unexpected weakness, with the index dropping into negative territory for the first time in seven months. In Europe, manufacturing conditions improved substantially, although failed to rise out of contraction… (Read more.)

Futures at 8:30 am: DJIA: +0.48%, S&P 500: +0.29%, NASDAQ: +0.29%

Here’s what’s buzzing on Monday morning:

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is due in court today to begin hearings as to whether the court will approve the bank’s $8.5 billion agreement to settle claims from investors over mortgage securities that soured during the financial crisis. Twenty-two of the affected investors agreed to the deal, but some others, including American International Group Inc. (NYSE:AIG), objected to the deal, saying it would only give them a fraction of the money they lost.

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is facing its e-book charges alone. The company is set to go to court today to address allegations that it conspired with five publishers to raise the price of e-books. All the accused publishers chose to settle with the Justice Department outside of court. The companies involved were trying to raise e-book prices in reaction to huge discounts Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was offering on e-books to promote Kindle sales.

DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and two other unidentified companies have reportedly bid $1 billion each for Hulu. The internet TV provider is currently owned by News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA), Disney (NYSE:DIS), and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), KKR (NYSE:KKR), and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) have also reportedly made bids for Hulu. These companies are looking to get in on the internet-TV phenomenon, as more people choose get their TV from web-based sources rather than traditional cable networks.

Chrysler Group reported that sales in May increased 11 percent on the year to 166,596 units, its best May since 2007. This marks the 37th consecutive period of year-over-year sales increases for the automaker. Sales were led by a 24 percent increase in Ram Truck brand sales, and a 23 percent increase in Dodge brand sales.

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Is the Starbucks of Pot Coming Soon? Recently, James Shively, CEO of Diego Pellicer, a Seattle-based company, announced his plans to invest $100 million in the marijuana market. Shively plans to start up a national brand of marijuana stores, which he likened to Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), but selling pot instead of coffee. The former Microsoft executive is planning on testing the tolerance of the Obama administration when it comes to enforcing federal drug laws… (Read more.)

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