Abbot Drops Its Research Business, Avis Buys Zipcar, and a Fiscal Cliff Solution: Market Recap

The markets rallied on Wednesday, posting tremendous gains on the first day of trading in the New Year.

At the close: DJIA: +2.35%, S&P 500: +2.54%, Nasdaq: +3.07%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSEARCA:USO) climbed 1.22 percent to $92.94 per barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) climbing 0.61 percent to $1,686.40 per ounce, and Silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) climbing 2.57 percent to $31.01 per ounce about 20 minutes after the bell.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:passbook apple

That a new iPhone will arrive this year is no surprise, but Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be much farther ahead in the development of the seventh-generation of its smartphone than many imagine. According to The Next Web, the company has already begun testing a new iPhone as well as the next version of the iOS mobile operating system… (Read more.)

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AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), once the research-based pharmaceuticals business of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), began trading Wednesday as an independent biopharmaceutical company on the New York Stock Exchange… (Read more.)

Avis Budget Group (NYSE:CAR) also enjoyed a boost after announcing that it will acquire car-sharing pioneer Zipcar (NASDAQ:ZIP) for nearly $500 million, or $12.25 per share, a 49 percent premium over Monday’s closing price. According to a statement released by Avis, car sharing has grown to a $400 million business in the U.S., and is rapidly growing… (Read more.)

Hallelujah! Democrats and Republicans Agree on Fiscal Cliff Solution: The nation breathed a collective sigh of relief late Tuesday night as Congress passed a resolution to the fiscal cliff in which both sides of the aisle made significant concessions to avert automatic across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts that would have taken effect January 2… (Read more.)

2013 Manufacturing Trends: Europe Loses to Developing Economies:  The Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI report released on Wednesday shows that the recession-stricken region will end the year with a PMI of 46.1 after a 0.1 point drop from November. Strength or weakness in the manufacturing sector is widely viewed as a barometer for overall economic health. With a reading below 50 in every country except Ireland, which posted a PMI of 51.4, European manufacturing contraction is expected to continue into the first quarter of 2013, reflecting general weakness in the region’s economy. However, the story in developing economies is different… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: Here’s Why Abbott Said Good-Bye to Its Research Business.