Facebook Announces Search and Amazon is Investigated: Market Recap

The U.S. equity markets were mixed on Tuesday, as participants weathered ongoing debt-ceiling drama and digested positive December retail sales numbers.

At the close: DJIA: +0.20%, S&P 500: +0.11%, NASDAQ: -0.22%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSEARCA:USO) fell 0.76 percent to $93.42 per barrel. Precious metals were up, with Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) climbing 0.56 percent to $1,678.80 per ounce, and Silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) climbing 0.84 percent to $31.37 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year T-bill fell 0.012 points to 1.833 percent.

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

At a special press event in California, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) unveiled a new product called Graph Search, which is a social search tool that allows users to customize how they view content through filters. The new feature delivers information with exact answers, as opposed to blue links that claim to hold the answer. Graph Search focuses on people, places, photos and interests… (Read more.)

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With its share of the personal computer market hovering behind Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Lenovo (LNVGY.PK), and its stock price losing almost a third of its value last year, a leveraged buyout does not seem out of the realm of possibility for Dell (NASDAQ:DELL). But while a report published in Bloomberg, indicating that the company had been discussing plans to go private, caused shares to shoot up by as much as 18 percent on Monday, not everyone was convinced of the agreement’s plausibility… (Read more.)

European regulators are not the only authorities coming after Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) for alleged tax avoidance. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has determined that the company owes the agency $234 million in back taxes, a charge the Internet retailer has contested… (Read more.)

GavelFor its role in rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, the Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) is expected to be fined between 400 million pounds and 500 million pounds. This approximately $803 million penalty will be much larger than the one given to rival British bank Barclays (NYSE:BCS), which was fined $450 million last June, but smaller than the record $1.5 billion fine given Switzerland’s UBS (NYSE:UBS) last month… (Read more.)

“Inadequate oversight and governance to protect the bank from material risk, inadequate risk management processes and procedures, inadequate control over trade valuation, inadequate development and implementation of models used by the bank, and inadequate internal audit processes,” are among the deficiencies that the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency found in JPMorgan’s (NYSE:JPM) derivative trading activities… (Read more.)

Despite the fiscal cliff drama and economic headwinds facing consumers, retail sales in the United States increased more than projected in December. According to the Commerce Department, retail sales last month rose 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted $415.7 billion. December sales were higher than an upwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in November, and 4.7 percent above December 2011 levels. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg and Dow Jones Newswires expected a 0.2 percent rise last month… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: The Facebook Effect Hits These 4 Stocks.