Today in the Fortune 500: Insider trading plot thickens, Oracle sales look good for tech and FedEx cheerful about holiday shipping outlook.

December 17, 2010, 11:14 PM UTC
Customizing a debit card
Image by sotheavy via Flickr

The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

INSIDER TRADING CRACKDOWN progresses as U.S. federal authorities arrest four major tech companies’ employees accused of participating in an insider trading network that touched on several of the Fortune 500. One of the men arrested worked for Advanced Micro Devices, and participants sold information about sales numbers for AMD (AMD), Dell (DELL) along with secrets about the design of Apple’s (APPL) strength could be a good indicator that the tech market, overall, is recovering. [Wall Street Journal]

THE TRUE COST OF DEBIT debated as the Federal Reserve considers slashing the fees banks charge customers to use debit cards. If that happens, banks including JPMorgan (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Bank of America (BAC) would cumulatively lose about $15 billion worth of revenue. Stocks in Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) dropped over 10% after the proposal was announced. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, FEDEX The shipping company raised its annual forecast as freight shipping slowly begins to move again. FedEx (FEDEX) predicts that this holiday season will be its most lucrative one in a while. Already, sales of shipped packages are growing as more and more shoppers buy items online, and retailers increasingly absorb shipping costs to stay competitive. [Wall Street Journal]

COSTCO’S COPYRIGHT PROBLEMS The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals  tacked a layer of complexity onto U.S. copyright laws during a ruling on whether or not Costco (COST) violated copyright rules when selling Swiss Omega watches after getting them from companies who purchased the merchandise outside of the U.S. According to an editorial, this expansion of copyright rules could hurt other businesses. [Los Angeles Times]

HIGH HO, HIGH HO People are off to work in the mines again, according to the Royal Bank of Canada, which raised its price target for shares of Caterpillar (CAT) based on increased demand for the mining sector. [Forbes]