Rallies, Regulations, and Obama’s News Conference: Market Recap

The markets close down again Wednesday on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -1.39%Nasdaq: -1.29%Dow: -1.45%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose 1.11 percent to $86.33 per barrel. Precious metals were up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing 0.07 percent to $1,726.00 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing 0.58 percent to $32.68.

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

The lockup on 800 million shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) expired on Wednesday, but the stock outperformed expectations to close 12.61 percent up despite seeing a red flag on Tuesday. Spurring the stock’s movement, Facebook launched its Social Jobs Partnership, a service that allows users to search for jobs aggregated by companies such as Monster.com (NYSE:MWW). The move puts Facebook in more direct competition with LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD). (Read more.)

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Speaking at the company’s annual investor conference in New York on Wednesday, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) chief executive officer Lloyd C. Blankfein discussed how the impending Basel III global regulations will affect the bank. The rules, which are scheduled to be introduced from 2013 until 2018, will increase the risk the bank must assign to its assets, a factor that will change the size of the company’s capital buffer. While the new regulations will not be in place for several more weeks, the bank has already determined how they will impact its risk-weighted assets. (Read more.)

Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) closed up 34.45 percent after posting third-quarter results that shocked investors. Highlights include an earnings jump of 40 percent from the year-ago period.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) closed up 4.81 percent after posting strong first-quarter earnings after the bell on Tuesday. Revenue rose 5.5 percent to $11.88 billion, while net income climbed 17.7 percent to $0.39 per share from the quarter a year ago, beating estimates on both fronts.

President Barack Obama held his first news conference since the election on Wednesday and his opening remarks mainly focused on the economy, reiterating what he said in a statement on the fiscal cliff last Friday. That is: the economy is recovering from deep recession, but progress is slow; a series of decisions must be made by the end of the year in order to avoid disaster; and the focus must remain on jobs. (Read more.)

Millions of workers spread across the European Union are holding a string of strikes and demonstrations on Wednesday to protest the widespread unemployment and government spending cuts in the continent. Trade unions blame the austerity policies for the drop in living standards across the region. The European Trade Union Confederation said that about 40 unions in 23 countries were scheduled to take part in a “day of action and solidarity.” (Read more.)

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