Jobless Claims, BP’s Penalty, and Berkshire Bails on GE: Market Recap

The markets closed down again on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -0.16%Nasdaq: -0.35%Dow: -0.23%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped 0.92 percent to $85.53 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling 0.88 percent to $1,714.90 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 0.88 percent to $32.59 about 15 minutes after the bell.

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

Over two years after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, BP (NYSE:BP) has pleaded guilty to a felony count of misconduct or neglect for each of the 11 lives lost during the disaster. The company will pay $4 billion over five years to the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as $525 million over three years to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Read more.)

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Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) closed up 1.81 percent after it posted third-quarter results that came in above Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue grew 3.2 percent compared to a year ago to $16.93 billion, while earnings jumped 14.8 percent to $0.96 per share. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) closed down 3.66 percent after its third-quarter report. Revenue was up 3.4 percent for the quarter compared to last year at $113.93 billion, while earnings jumped 9 percent to $1.08 per share. However, it was the fifth consecutive quarter where margins shrank. (Read more.)

In the world of investing, Warren Buffett is king, so when his Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA) all but eliminates its position in Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and General Electric (NYSE:GE), investors sit up and take notice. (Read more.)

Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims for the week ending November 10 came in at 439,000, an increase of 78,000 from the previous week. (Read more.)

Inflation appears to be in check in the U.S. as new October data released by the U.S. Labor Department on Thursday showed that cost of living rose at its slowest pace in three months. The U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.1 percent last month, in line with analysts’ expectations. It followed a 0.6 percent gain each in September and August. (Read more.)

The Electoral College re-elected President Barack Obama for another four years last week. The event concluded months of political rhetoric and spin by both parties, totaling billions of dollars and setting new campaign spending records. Due to the incumbent winning, some well-known Republicans voiced their discontent shortly thereafter. However, no matter how much pain some voters may be feeling, stocks are handing out big losses to both sides of the aisle. (Read more.)

Investing Insights: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Makes Some Huge Changes to Its Portfolio.