Afternoon Roundup: Today's Top Stories


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.

Electronics retailer Best Buy (NYS: BBY) saw its profit fall by 30% in the second fiscal quarter, despite the company's effort to continue increasing sales thorough promotions. Sales were flat for most of the quarter because of a weak economy and intense price competition from companies such as (NAS: AMZN) and Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) . The company reported a net profit of $177 million, down from $254 million for the same period last year. Best Buy didn't meet analysts' expectations and said consumers' budgets could remain tight through the holiday season. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

With a deepening crisis in Europe, U.S. money markets are looking for safer options. According to JPMorgan Chase research, last month American money funds and other short-term credit suppliers refused to refinance about $50 billion of debt issued by European banks -- a 14% decrease. Traders are so worried they're even tightening up on French banks such as Societe Generale and BNP Paribas. A pullback on such banks could be detrimental for the overall world economy because of their size and reach. But some funds have decided to stick with the banks. Fidelity (NYS: FNF) , which manages a total of $428 billion, has decided not to pull its money. Read more at The New York Times.

(NYS: HPQ) has decided to extend the deadline for the $11.2 billion takeover of software company Autonomy. The deadline was pushed back to Oct. 3 following the approval of HP's shareholders. (Autonomy's shareholders still need to approve the delisting of Autonomy from the London Stock Exchange.) The extension comes as a surprise, considering HP is paying a 79% premium on Autonomy's stock price. Analysts think the offer is more than reasonable and have said there is no threat of a better bid. Read more at Reuters.

Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway (NYS: BRK.B) , hired a second money manager for the company. Ted Weschler is an investment manager form Charlottesville, Va., and currently runs Peninsula Capital, a $2 billion hedge fund. Weschler will wind down his fund before going to Berkshire. He will join Tom Combs, who joined the company at the end of last year. Buffett said the new hiring is not something to worry about but instead is the next step in the long-time-coming secession plan. Once Buffett either retires or dies, the plan will leave the company in many hands. Berkshire's 2010 earnings rose 61% to $13 billion. More recently, Buffett announced his plan to invest $5 billion in Bank of America (NYS: BAC) . Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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

At the time thisarticle was published Michelle Zayed doesn't own any stocks mentioned.The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Berkshire Hathaway, Fidelity National Financial, Bank of America, and Best Buy.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of, Berkshire Hathaway, Fidelity National Financial, and Wal-Mart Stores and creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores. 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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