Google Dives, Tech Earnings, Confidence Despite Unemployment: Market Recap

Markets closed down on Wall Street today:

S&P 500: -0.24%Nasdaq: -1.01%Dow: -0.66%Oil: -0.14%Gold: -0.63%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $91.90 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSA:GLD) dropping to $1,742.00 per ounce and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling to $32.79 per ounce.

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

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) closes 7.95 percent down on October 18 after its financial publisher R.R. Donnelley & Sons (NASDAQ:RRD) mistakenly releases earnings early. Earnings per share came in at $9.03, missing analyst expectations of $10.65. Read our Google Earnings Cheat Sheet.

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is working hard on maintaining its growth story in China and plans to open two new stores in the country starting this month. The expansion follows comments from chief executive Tim Cook earlier this year during a visit to China when he said the company was looking for “even greater investment and growth” in the country.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) delivered bad news to investors Thursday when it released its earnings for the fiscal third quarter. The telecommunications company saw revenue sink to $9.48 billion, a 19 percent fall from the same quarter a year ago. Additionally, earnings per share dropped to -34 cents, compared to the -13 cents per-share that analysts had anticipated.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) announced its quarterly earnings as well on Thursday and had much happier tidings to report. The wireless carrier somehow managed to achieve double-digit growth in the third quarter, despite having to deal with a spike in Apple iPhone sales which entail high subsidy costs. Excluding one-time legal related fees, Verizon posted per-share earnings of 64 cents for the quarter, a welcome increase from 49 cents per share from a year ago.

Online auctioneer eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) also reported double-digit increases in earnings this week, enjoying strong quarterly contributions from both its Marketplace and PayPal units. For the fiscal third quarter, eBay earned $597 million, or 45 cents per share, up from last year’s $491 million profit, or 37 cents per share. Revenue also increased from $3 billion in Q3 2011 to $3.4 billion.

Germany and France argued over the creation of a single European banking supervisor during a European Union summit on Thursday, disagreeing over the timetable for the banking union and what powers it should be allowed to have.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was okay for the Union to take its time to set up the bank because quality was more important than speed, adding that the more immediate requirement was to call for stronger authority for the European Commission to veto national budgets that breach EU rules. However, French President Francois Hollande said that issue was not on agenda and that the priority of the summit should remain on the banking union.

The number of new jobless claims filed over the past week spiked to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday. However, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index shows that American consumers have growing confidence in where the economy is headed. The index rose to -34.8, its highest mark in six months. Last week the index read -38.5.

The four-week moving average — a better indicator of labor market trends because it tempers week-to-week volatility — is down from a month earlier to 365,500, suggesting that the market is still heading in the right direction.

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