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JP Morgan pays big for Madoff scandal; Apple buys SnappyLabs; Liberty Media downgraded after bid for Sirius XM

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JP Morgan pays big for Madoff scandal; Apple buys SnappyLabs; Liberty Media downgraded after bid for Sirius XM

It's the start of a busy week that could have markets making big moves. The Senate is expected to vote to confirm Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve later today. The minutes from last month's Fed meeting -- in which they decided to start tapering -- will be released on Wednesday. And December job numbers will be released on Friday. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 7.0%.

JP Morgan (JPM) is expected to pay $2 billion in civil and criminal fines for allegedly failing to warn regulators of Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme. The agreement -- which is expected to be announced this week according to multiple reports -- will include a deferred prosecution agreement. That is a criminal action that would suspend any indictments as long as JP Morgan acknowledges the facts of the government's case. The government is expected to give much of the settlement money to Madoff's victims. If this agreement is reached, JP Morgan will have paid out $20 billion in fines to the government over the last 12 months.

And Apple (AAPL) has bought SnappyLabs, the maker of the popular SnappyCam app. The app, that’s no longer available in the iTunes store, allows users to take full-resolution photos at 20 frames per second and zoom up to six times. The deal is billed as more evidence that Apple has moved away from the Steve Jobs-era resistance to acquisitions. Apple made only two acquisitions in 2011, Jobs' last year as CEO. By contrast, the company made 11 in 2013. In the last year, Apple stock is up 3.26%.

Now here’s a look at six hot stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today.

First up, Ford (F), which reported that it boosted sales by nearly 50% last year in the world's largest auto market: China. That's a record for the company. Ford beat its Japanese rivals, Toyota (TM) and Honda (HMC), but still trails far behind G.M. (GM) and Volkswagen. The U.S. auto giant reported December sales were up 35% in China year-over-year. Ford is up over 15% since this time last year.

Next, we have two stocks for you, Liberty Media (LMCA), and Sirius XM (SIRI). Liberty has been downgraded by Citigroup (C) to neutral from buy. Citi also lowered its price target for shares to $160 from $190. The downgrade comes after Liberty offered to acquire Sirius and make it a wholly owned subsidiary. Liberty currently owns 52% of Sirius. The proposal values Sirius at $3.68 per share - a 3.1% premium to its closing price of $3.57 on Friday. Citi lowered its price target for Sirius to $4.15 - from $5 after the takeover offer. It cited the lower price target for Sirius as the reason for the Liberty downgrade. Sirius has risen close to 16% in the last year while Liberty has risen more than 33%.

Now, Men's Wearhouse (MW) which just won't take no for an answer from its rival Jos. A. Bank. (JOSB). Men's Wearhouse has upped its offer to buy Jos A Bank to $57.50 per share after its offer back in November of $55 was rejected. It’s been an ongoing back-and-forth battle between both companies as to who will buy whom. Jos. A. Bank shares are up almost 25% in the last year while Men's Wearhouse has risen close to 55%.

Finally, T-Mobile US (TMUS), which is up close to 2% in early trading. T-Mobile could see movement today as it announced it will buy a chunk of spectrum from Verizon Wireless for $2.365 billion in cash and the transfer of spectrum licenses worth $950 million. The transaction will give T-Mobile important low-band spectrum in 21 of the top 30 U.S. markets -- in other words, better coverage for customers. T-Mobile shares are up close to 69% since last year.

More than half the country could be facing arctic temperatures in the next two days, which experts are calling a polar vortex. These freezing temperatures could have an effect on the economy if enough people stay indoors to keep warm. So we want to hear from you: Will this polar vortex keep you from working, shopping, running errands, or otherwise interrupt your life in a way that would impact the economy? Vote and leave a comment below.

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