Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Morning six-pack: what we're reading Wednesday

Ben Bernanke
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All eyes will be on Ben Bernanke on Wednesday as he appears in what's likely to be his final press conference as chairman of the Federal Reserve at 2:30 p.m. EST. Will he surprise markets but starting to curtail the government's bond buying program?

One fresh sign of a healthier economy—which helps make the case for a taper—is that U.S. housing starts surged in November to their highest level in nearly six years. (Reuters)

Goldman Sachs is a changed firm. The bank is now reining in riskier activities, shrinking its balance sheet and steering clear of trades that don't produce double-digit returns. (Wall Street Journal)

In another sign of change in finance, more hedge funds are using public relations consultants. This year, 45 percent of the largest firms in the Americas use an external PR shop, up from 36 percent a year ago. (Absolute Return)

In mergers and acquisitions land, William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners won the auction to buy sports and talent agency IMG, beating out two other groups with an offer of about $2.3 billion. (New York Times' DealBook)

BlackRock, Third Point and other investors have been hurt by slumping Turkish stocks amid a corruption probe into local businessmen and politicians. (Bloomberg)

Jurors in the federal insider-trading trial of former SAC Capital Advisors employee Michael Steinberg ended their first day of deliberations without a verdict. (New York Post)

—By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne. Follow him on Twitter @ldelevingne.