Market Wrap: Oil SPILLS Lower, Microsoft RALLIES, Operation TWIST

Markets closed down on Wall Street today:
Dow -0.10%, S&P -0.17%, Nasdaq +0.02%, Oil -3.53%, Gold -0.96%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) declined to $81.06 a barrel. Precious metals also declined, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,608 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.25 to settle at $28.12.

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

Financial stocks were riding on a high on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve extended the Operation Twist program until the end of the year. Shares of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) rose almost 4 percent to $36.71 also after a report that the bank had dumped a substantial part of a derivatives trade that cost it between $2 billion to $3 billion in losses. Shares of Citigroup (NYSE:C) rose almost 1 percent, American Express (NYSE:AXP) was up .72 percent, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) ticked lower .82% and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) gained .12% in the afternoon.

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares rose $0.23 cents a share to close at $30.93 after the company held its annual Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday. It provided details about the features in its to-be released mobile-phone operating system. Previously known as “Apollo”, it will include support for multi-core chips, built-in mapping technology and improved technology for the processing of digital payments, reported MarketWatch.

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Applied Materials (AMAT) shares increased by more than 3 percent to close at $11.55. The company named its new president, Gary Dickerson. He was previously Varian Semiconductor’s chief executive; last year the company had been acquired by Applied. From the news, Barclays Research analyst C.J. Muse raised his rating on Applied’s stock to “Overweight” from “Equal Weight.”

Jabil Circuit Inc.(NYSE:JBL) shares rose almost 7 percent after the company announced on Tuesday its third quarter revenues came in better-than-expected. It also said it will stick with its prior forecast for fiscal 2013 sales. According to Bloomberg, analysts believe Jabils’ current quarter could be a turning point for the company. Investor optimism also spurred Wednesday’s rally.

AspenBio Pharma Inc.’s (NASDAQ:APPY) shares tanked more than 36 percent after the company said it would sell 6.1 million shares at $2 per share. That represents a 36 percent discount to Tuesday’s closing share price.

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