A Settlement, a New CEO, and America’s Oil Future: Market Recap

The markets were mixed today on Wall Street:

S&P 500: +0.01%Nasdaq: -0.02%Dow: 0.00%Oil: -0.50%Gold: -0.17%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $85.64 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,728.20 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling to $32.40 per ounce after the bell.

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

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and HTC have reached a global settlement that will dismiss all ongoing court litigation between the two and start a ten-year license agreement covering patents held by either company. As part of the deal, HTC will pay licensing fees to Apple, though the exact amount is not yet clear.

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With Chrstopher Kubasik out of the picture, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) will face the daunting economic landscape of the next few months with Marillyn Hewson at the helm. She will become the company’s top boss on January 1, one day after the fiscal cliff will trigger if left unattended.

Despite pledging to the contrary, even J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) will offer promotions for Black Friday shoppers. Amid increasing concerns over its financial viability, the retailer has forgone its non-coupon pricing strategy and decided to hold its only sale of the year beginning at 6 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. Investors did not warm up to the idea, with shares closing down 12.94 percent.

Even without Mitt Romney in the White House, North America may find its way to energy independence in the foreseeable future. The International Energy Agency, which launched the 2012 World Energy Outlook on November 12, predicts that America is poised to take a leading position in global oil production by 2020.

America’s capacity for oil and gas production is “at the forefront of a sweeping transformation,” according to IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven. The oil and gas supermajors have not failed to notice this trend, either. New technology has unlocked massive reserves trapped in shale, and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), British Petroluem (NYSE:BP), and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) have aggressively involved themselves in North American shale projects to access previously unreachable gas and oil.

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