Here’s What You Need to Know Above Dow 12,900

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: 
Dow +0.27%, S&P +0.27%, Nasdaq +0.79%, Oil +2.84%, Gold +0.63%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $92.42 a barrel. Precious metals also increased, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) rising to $1,581.00 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) increased 0.17% to settle at $27.24.

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

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced the release date for Windows 8 just one day before it was to report fourth-quarter earnings, which analysts say may show the first ever loss for the company after it had to write down the value of a troubled takeover. In 2007, Microsoft paid $6.3 billion for online advertising service Aquantive but has said the service did not perform as expected. As a result, its earnings will be offset by a $6.2 billion charge.

Don’t Miss: Microsoft FINALLY Sets Release Date for Windows 8.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) must run ads in the U.K. saying that Samsung did not copy its design for the iPad, a British judge has ruled. Judge Colin Birss, who last week ruled that Samsung did not infringe Apple’s designs because its Galaxy Tab tablets were not “as cool” as the iPad, said that Apple should publish a notice on its website and in British newspapers to correct any impression that Samsung copied its designs.

Large gainers for Thursday included EBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY). Its shares increased 8.6 percent after the company reported late on Wednesday that second-quarter earnings had more than doubled from the previous year. Solid increases came from its marketplaces and PayPal payments divisions.

Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG) shares jumped 12 percent after the company said it had a new agreement with Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ:ESRX) on rates and terms for a multiple year pharmacy network agreement; terms had not been released. Express Scripts increased two percent from the news.

On the downside, Johnson Controls’ (NYSE:JCI) shares dropped eight percent. The company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings increased 17 percent with a revenue rise and decreased expenses. Results came in lower than analysts’ estimates and its prior growth forecast.

Don’t Miss: Apple Third Quarter Earnings SNEAK PEEK.