Here's the rundown of today's five top stories, compiled from around the Web.

1. Ken Lewis to step down.
The Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) CEO will retire at the end of 2009. Check out the full story at BusinessWeek:

In the end, that addiction to dealmaking proved to be Lewis' undoing. The same executive who told BusinessWeek in 2002 that he was "highly skeptical that I'll ever think an investment bank is worth what they think it's worth" couldn't restrain himself when the opportunity presented itself last year to take over venerable Merrill Lynch, even as it was reeling from its fateful foray into subprime lending. But within mere months, it was clear that his acquisition of Merrill -- coming on the heels of BofA's deal for Countrywide Financial, the equally troubled mortgage giant -- was far more than Lewis could manage. And after a tumultuous year in which he endured attacks from shareholders, lawmakers, and regulators, on Sept. 30 Lewis abruptly announced his plans to retire at the end of the year.

The Bank of America board has yet to name a successor.

2. Stocks had a strong third quarter.
Things ended with a whimper during yesterday's session, but the Dow had its best quarter since 1998 (read more at The Wall Street Journal), and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index, which tracks British blue chips such as BP (NYSE:BP), just finished its best three-month span since its creation 25 years ago (read more at BBC News).

3. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) keeps merger mania rolling.
(NYSE:XRX) and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) announced deals earlier in the week. Now it's Cisco's turn: It will acquire Norwegian video-conferencing company Tandberg ASA for nearly $3 billion in cash (read more at Bloomberg).

4. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) to buy NBC Universal?
Rumors are circulating that the cable giant has made a bid for NBC Universal, currently majority-owned by General Electric (NYSE:GE). Comcast, however, says no deal has been made (read more at

5. High-frequency trading getting high-frequency media mentions.
The Daily Show's Samantha Bee spoofed "HFT" last night, and it's also the subject of an article from Knowledge@Wharton, "The Impact of High-Frequency Trading: Manipulation, Distortion, or a Better-Functioning Market?" A quick refresher on HFT:

High-frequency trading refers to computerized trades seeking to profit from conditions too ephemeral for a human to exploit, like a [minuscule] increase in the spread between bid and ask prices for a given security, or a slight price difference for a stock traded on various exchanges. Trading is so fast that some firms locate their server farms near the exchange's computers, to shorten the distance orders must travel through cables at light speed.


And that's your Thursday morning recap. Check throughout the day for commentary and analysis on these and other stories. Or you can follow us on Twitter, on Facebook, or through our email digests.

Brian Richards owns no shares of any companies mentioned in this story. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.