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In bidding war, Apple and Microsoft come out on top
Nortel Networks
' more than 6,000 patents finally went up for auction Monday after being delayed for a month. By the end of the week, a consortium of companies led by Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) won the bid for an unprecedented $4.5 billion in cash. Their rivals were none other than Google and Intel, with a Google offer of $900 million.

Nortel, the Canadian telecom that filed for bankruptcy in 2009, held some patents related to 4G wireless technology, the latest trend in the communications industry. This means the winners of the bid -- which also include Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM), Sony, Ericsson, and EMC -- now have access to discoveries that may particularly help their business.

The loss is a setback for Google, since the company lacks a patent portfolio with which to bolster its Android platform. Read more at Bloomberg and The New York Times.

Manufacturing report boosts U.S. stocks
Wall Street received a pleasant surprise in the morning: better-than-expected gains. After months of less-than-good news, the stock market received a jolt of confidence with the biggest weekly gain in a year. The S&P 500 has risen 0.8%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average stands at 122.41 points, or 1%, so far today. A number of factors came in to play, as companies that largely depend on economic growth like Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and 3M (NYSE: MMM) have gained at least 1.4%. Apollo Group has jumped 7.4% as it beat analyst estimates.

In addition, averting Greece's economic disaster helped global stocks grow, including the National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), adding 4.2% so far. Read more at Bloomberg.

Geithner's undecided future
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner announced Thursday that he will remain in his job "for the foreseeable future."

News broke that Geithner may wish to leave his position after reaching a budget deficit deal, so the White House called a press conference in Chicago to eliminate speculation. But Geithner's answer was not completely reassuring, considering that his family moved back to New York this year -- which forces him to commute from the capital. Also, he would be another of the many economic advisors who have left the Obama administration.

Geithner's departure would have been a headache for the White House, which is already dealing with the debt ceiling debate, the budget deficit, and steady unemployment. Read more at The New York Times.

Car sales don't make the finish line
In June, car sales remained sluggish for the second straight month. A short supply of small cars from Japan is one problem weighing down the industry. General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced weaker-than-expected sales in June, and it now expects to end the year on the lower end of sales targets. Nonetheless, the carmaker did have an increase in sales of in the first half of the year -- 17% compared to the same period in 2010. Other car makers are scheduled to report their sales this afternoon. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

That's all for Friday's midday roundup of news affecting the financial world. Check throughout the day for commentary on these and other stories. Also, follow us on Twitter, on Facebook, or through our email digests.

Michelle Zayed owns no shares of any companies mentioned in this story. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, National Bank of Greece, Google, and Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors, Google, Intel, 3M, Apple, Home Depot, and Microsoft. They have also recommended creating a diagonal call position in Intel and Microsoft, and a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.