At The 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 the first wave of restructuring, Bank of America (NYS: BAC) could cut as many as 40,000 jobs, though that number could change. CEO Brian Moynihan had told investors he aimed to save as much as $1.5 billion per quarter. The jobs would be eliminated over an undetermined number of years. The cuts are part of a plan named "Project New BAC." The cutback and other measures taken in previous months are part of the bank's attempt to become leaner. Competitors such as JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) and Citigroup have much small workforces. The cuts are most likely to come from the consumer side of the operations; the company currently has roughly 160,000 consumer-related positions. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

Internet giant Google (NAS: GOOG) bought the review service Zagat Survey. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Zagat rates establishments from hotels to retailers to restaurants. The purchase will allow Google to offer a mix of reviews from different users and puts a dent in the competition with Yelp. The deal will also intensify the competition with restaurant reservation specialist OpenTable (NAS: OPEN) and daily deals providers Groupon and LivingSocial.

Experts say the deal is Google's effort to offer more local information. The transaction could hurt competitors like OpenTable that get their traffic mainly from Google and Yelp. Earlier this year, Yelp and Expedia (NAS: EXPE) accused Google of taking their content to use in Google Places features. The tech company removed the reviews. Read more at Bloomberg.

(NAS: AAPL) scored a monumental win in Germany as a court upheld the decision to ban the sale of Samsung's Galaxy tablet in the country. The two companies have been entangled in patent disputes over smartphone and tablet patents since April. Samsung's devices are seen as one of the best competitors of the iPad maker. The injunction will prohibit German Samsung from selling the device, but retailers will be allowed to sell it if they have remaining stock or the device comes from South Korean orders. Apple filed for a similar injunction in the Netherlands, but the court there found no patent infringement. Samsung said it was disappointed with the German decision because it stifles innovation. Read more at Reuters.

After President Obama's speech, in which he asked Congress to approve a jobs plan that would extend tax cuts, markets fell sharply during early trading. By midday, the S&P 500 had fallen sharply, by 2.5%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) fell by 2.6% and the Nasdaq dropped by 2.27%. European markets were also down by 2% to 4% by late afternoon. Uncertainty about the measure and whether it would pass piled on top of the euro-related uncertainty already pressuring markets. This is despite proposing spending on small businesses and tax holidays. The president will deliver the detailed plan to Congress in a week. Read more at The New York Times. 

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 Watchlist here; it's free!

At the time this article was published Michelle Zayed doesn't own any stocks mentioned.The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Apple, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of OpenTable, Google, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating 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 insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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