OPEC Reports, Microsoft’s a Copy Cat, the Fiscal Cliff Approaches: Market Recap

Markets closed down today on Wall Street:

S&P: -0.68%Nasdaq: -0.43%Dow: -0.95%Oil: -1.23%Gold: -0.01%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) is down at $91.25 per barrel. Precious metals are mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) ticking to $1,764.90, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) rising 0.28% to $34.08.

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

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has released its October 2012 Oil Market Report. Demand forOPEC crude in 2012 has been revised up by 0.2 million barrels per day, to a total of 30.1 mb/d. This is down 0.1 mb/d from last year. In 2013, demand for OPEC crude is forecast to average 29.8 mb/d, a 0.3 md/d decline from this year.

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) wants to be the next Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), according to CEO Steve Ballmer, who signaled in his annual letter to shareholders a new direction for the software company: hardware and online services. Apple’s tight integration of software and hardware has proven successful. Meanwhile, Microsoft has had to rely on companies like Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) to design desktops and laptops running on Windows software, and has had difficulty finding partners to build Windows Phone smartphones.

Toyota (NYSE:TM) announced on October 10 that it will be recalling 2.5 million vehicles in the United States. This round could pull as many as 7.43 million units globally, making it one of the largest recalls ever. Toyota suggests that it would take about one hour to repair the issue.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) has made the decision to delay the release of BlackBerry 10 once already. A product that is late to market is probably better than a failed product, but at this rate the company may have both on its hands. According to Forbes, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek is not expecting to see BlackBerry 10 until March.

And the fiscal cliff marches closer. If the United States Congress fails to address the expiration of $600 billion worth of tax breaks and jobless benefits by the end of this year, the economy could shrink as much as 4 percentage points in the first half of 2013, according to Goldman Sachs. Here are the companies who should fear that cliff the most.

Don’t Miss: OPEC: The Future of Oil is Uncertain.