Markets closed down today on Wall Street: Dow -0.30%, S&P -0.31%, Nasdaq -0.17%, Oil -2.90%, Gold -0.65%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $97.62 a barrel. Precious metals also fell, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) dropping to $1,761.20 an ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling 1.47 percent to $34.14.
Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported Monday morning that iPhone 5 pre-orders surpassed 2 million, doubling the record set by the iPhone 4S in 2011. AT&T (NYSE:T) said that it saw a record number of pre-orders on Friday, and both that carrier and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) already sold out of their pre-order supply.
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JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C), and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) are the target of fresh scrutiny. The banks are being targeted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over allegations that they failed to properly monitor cash transactions that could have lead to laundering. Officials — who chose to remain anonymous — have said that federal and state authorities are set to begin an aggressive crackdown. This follows investigations into foreign banks Standard Chartered (LSE:STAN) and HSBC (NYSE:HBC).
The United States Treasury Department turned down a plan from General Motors (NYSE:GM) to buy back 200 million shares of its company. The Treasury has a 26.5 percent stake in GM, but share prices are too low for the Treasury to act. GM shares would need to hit $53 before the Treasury broke even, but the government is likely to sell at a loss.
With its purchase of a 13.3 percent stake in Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) announced today, activist investment fund Starboard Value LP made clear in a letter to management the company’s need to downsize. Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith wrote to Office Depot’s chief executive Neil Austrian that although the company’s shares are “deeply undervalued,” cutting expenses could improve its performance. Starboard, which is now the largest shareholder in Office Depot, showed concern that the company’s performance lagged behind others in the industry, including Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) and OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX).
Despite opposition from New York City’s unions, residents, and politicians who say Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) would devastate local businesses, the world’s largest retailer may avoid restrictions by opening smaller-format stores in key neighborhoods. Wal-Mart announced today that it failed to agree on economic terms for the development of the company’s first store in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. Political and grassroots opposition is not new for Wal-Mart; the retailer was was denied locations in Queens and Staten Island in recent years. However, several of its competitors, like Target (NYSE:TGT) and Costco (NASDAQ:COST), already have opened stores the city.
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