Apple Faces DoJ Regulations, ING in Korean Unit Discussions, and 3 More Hot Stocks

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): The Department of Justice is pushing for increased oversight of Apple’s App Store and iTunes program in the wake of a ruling that found the company to be guilty of price fixing in its eBook division. If the DoJ’s proposals are accepted, then music, television show, and content owners would have more leverage in negotiations with the company, which has been notably aggressive in opening up traditional media to digital distribution.

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ING Groep N.V. (NYSE:ING): Reuters reports that ING has apparently entered exclusive negotiations to sell its South Korean insurance unit to the private equity firm MBK Partners on the basis of a 1.5 trillion won to 1.6 trillion won ($1.3 million to $1.4 billion) bid that MBK made for a 90 percent stake in an auction. ING is required to shed 50 percent of its Asian assets by the end of the year in accordance with regulations put in place after the financial crisis.

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Lloyds Banking Group PLC (NYSE:LYG): Lloyds Bank is trading higher, and CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio intends to begin payment of  70 percent of the bank’s earnings in dividends within three years, according to the Financial Times. The target figure was introduced by Horta-Osorio at investor roadshows the bank is carrying out ahead of the government’s commencement of sales for its 39 percent stake in the company.

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM): JPMorgan’s warehousing division, Henry Bath, is reportedly under negotiation, as the bank is debating the sale of the unit to London commodities broker Marex Spectron. Last month, the bank said it would seek “strategic alternatives” for its physical oil, gas, power, and metals trading division. The options included a joint venture spinoff or sale.

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HSBC Holdings (NYSE:HBC): HSBC is trading down nearly 5 percent though the company reported a pretax profit that saw gains of 10 percent to $14.1 billion, missing the consensus of $14.6 billion. Revenue slipped 7 percent to $34.4 billion as Western economic growth remained subdued and growth in China and the rest of Asia also struggled. Additional regulatory reforms added to the bank’s costs. HSBC reported a core tier 1 ratio of 12.7 percent with a common equity tier 1 ratio of 10.1 percent.

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