Afternoon Roundup: Today's Top Stories

AtThe Motley Fool, we know our readers like to be informed. We have 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.

In an early morning blog post, Netflix (NAS: NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings announced the company would not spin off its DVD service. The decision to revamp the DVD-by-mail service as Qwikster had triggered an outrage with Netflix's customers and investors. In what seems to be an act of humbleness, the company decided to kill the idea that had taken its stock price down by 25%. The move had enraged customers who saw no logic in managing two separate accounts for the same service they had under one account. The unpopular decision was made after the company increased prices by 60% for about half of its customer base. The Qwikster webpage that had held a "coming soon" sign now redirects visitors to the Netflix website. The retraction of the new venture is uncharacteristic of Hastings, who is known for being able to predict what the next step should be and standing his ground when his ideas go against the current. Read more atThe Wall Street Journal.

Amid overall disappointment in the economy, analysts said banks are about to bring in more bad news. With earnings season around the corner, the prospects don't look very promising, leaving investors as frustrated as ever and forcing banks to find new places to raise revenue. Discouraging numbers could be a result of volatile markets this past quarter and more restrictions in traditional banking. New regulations like limiting debit card swipe charges have made way for new fees like Bank of America's (NYS: BAC) $5 monthly debit card fee. The bank's shares have tumbled 50% for the year, along with similar banks like Citigroup (NYS: C) , whose stock has tumbled 40%. But analysts still expect some increase in auto, credit card, and corporate lending, though it may not be enough to gain back investor and consumer cost. Read more atThe New York Times.

Despite dealing with the loss of co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple (NAS: AAPL) received good news in the form of 1 million pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S. That amount is 67% higher than pre-orders for the iPhone's previous version. This is the last phone designed under Jobs' reign, and the high volume of pre-orders is a signal of the accumulated demand for the new version. The last phone, the iPhone 4, was released nearly 16 months ago, an unusually long amount of time between new models. The iPhone 4S is also being offered at the three largest wireless carriers, adding to the list Sprint Nextel (NYS: S) . Sprint could eventually add about 6 million new users to its base, according to an analyst at Susquehanna International Group. AT&T (NYS: T) said on Friday that it had received 200,000 pre-orders for the phone, making it the company's best debut yet for any iPhone. Read more atBloomberg.

(NYS: BHP) moved closer to completing a $20 billion to $30 billion expansion of the Olympic dam in Australia. The copper and uranium miner won environmental approval to begin expansion in the country's southern deserts. The new mine will aid BHP in quadrupling its copper output, which will help supply the demand for it in Asia. In China alone, copper demand is expected to rise by 6% this year. BHP will make the final decision in mid-2012 and has to consider about 150 conditions imposed by the Australian government to make the project feasible. As part of them, the company has agreed to set aside land -- roughly the size of London -- to act as an environmental buffer, along with monitoring the mine's effects on wild species in the area. Read more atReuters.

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

At the time thisarticle was published Michelle Zayed doesn't own any stocks mentioned.The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, and Citigroup.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of AT&T, Netflix, and Apple; creating a bull call spread position in Apple; and creating a bear put spread position in Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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