Afternoon Roundup: Today's Top Stories

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At The Motley Fool, we know our readers like to be informed, so we've scouted out today's most relevant news items and brought them to you all on one page. We hope you find this midday edition informative and useful.

Rising Caterpillar
Caterpillar
(NYS: CAT) , the largest heavy-machinery maker, reported a 44% increase in revenue for its third quarter, beating analyst expectations. Strong demand drove the sales bump. Caterpillar reported net income of $1.14 billion, or $1.71 per share (analysts expected $1.54). The company expects sales to rise between 10-20% in 2012. Read more at Reuters.

Oracle buys RightNow
Oracle
(NAS: ORCL) announced it would buy RightNow (NAS: RNOW) , a cloud-based customer service company, for about $1.5 billion. Oracle said the deal is a way to bet more aggressively on the increasing use of cloud computing and storage. Oracle executives said the deal would push the company's margins higher as it offers its customers more cloud solutions. The deal is still pending approval from both stockholders and regulators. Oracle offered $43 per share and expects the deal to be finalized by the end of this year or early 2012. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

Cigna bets on HealthSpring
Insurer Cigna (NYS: CI) announced it will buy HealthSpring (NYS: HS) for about $3.7 billion. The move is a way Cigna is trying to get a piece of the growing Medicare and senior insurance market. Cigna offered $55 per share, a premium of 37% of HealthSpring's closing price on Friday. HealthSpring has had a steady increase in revenue since 2006 as it adds customers to its fast-growing business. Last year the company reported $194.2 million in net income. Through the deal, Cigna will add a customer segment the company currently lacks with HealthSpring's 340,000 Medicare Advantage customers and a prescription service with more than 800,000 customers. HealthSpring's existing management will continue to lead the company after the deal closes sometime in the first half of 2012. Cigna will pay for the deal with cash and a loan provided by JP Morgan. Both companies' shares rose during premarket trading. Read more at The New York Times.

U.S. cracks down on Swiss banks
Amid criminal probes of 11 Swiss banks suspected of aiding with tax evasion, including Credit Suisse (NYS: CS) and HSBC (NYS: HBC) , the U.S. and Swiss negotiators are nearing a civil settlement. The U.S. has been looking into how these banks had been helping Americans evade taxes by keeping off shore accounts. The Swiss banks, which are known for their secrecy and protection, may be willing to pay fines and disclose the names of accountholders as part of the deal. Previous agreements with the German and British governments did not disclose client names, but this time they may disclose data from between 5,000 and 10,000 accounts. Read more at Bloomberg.

So there you have it -- the top financial stories for this afternoon. If you're interested in getting all the news and commentary on these stocks sign up for My Watchlist -- it's free!

At the time this article was published Michelle Zayed doesn't own any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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