Alcoa Barometer Questioned, Foxconn Workers Walk, and Wal-Mart’s Pre-Paid Card: Market Recap

Markets closed down today on Wall Street: S&P: -0.35%, Nasdaq: -0.76%, Dow: -0.19%, Oil: -0.22%, Gold: -0.24%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $89.67 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,779.50 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) dropping 1.48% to $34.06.

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

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will be joining the ranks of tech companies such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) that offer credit services. After running a successful pilot program in the United States, Google will be extending AdWords Business Credit invitations to companies in the United Kingdom, and extending services in the U.S. to more businesses.

With the advent of the third-quarter earnings season at hand, Alcoa (NYSE:AA), the longtime barometer for the health of global manufacturing, will release its earnings report shortly after 4 p.m. EST on Monday. However recent data, analyzed by research firm FactSet, shows that the company may not be such a good indicator after all. Read our article explaining why.

Foxconn Technology Group had to halt production of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones for the second time in two weeks as factory-line workers protested against increased pressure. The company, which employs over 1 million workers in China, has in recent years suffered suicides, riots, and strikes, prompting global outcry for it to improve working conditions. On Friday, a dispute occurred between the production and quality teams at the factory, and subsequently, some 3,000 to 4,000 workers walked off the job.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and American Express (NYSE:AXP) announced Monday that they are partnering to provide customers a new way to make purchases: a re-loadable prepaid card. Begun last year as a pilot program, Bluebird will have no minimum balance and no monthly, annual, or overdraft fees. The two companies say the only fees attached to the card will be within the user’s control, like out-of-network ATM withdrawals by customers who do not have direct deposit.

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