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Markets closed down Wednesday on Wall Street:
S&P 500: -0.31%, Nasdaq: -0.29%, Dow: -0.19%, Oil: -1.11%, Gold: -0.44%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) dropped to $85.71 per barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,701.60 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) falling to $31.73 per ounce at the bell.
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Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) announced Wednesday that its Board of Directors has elected the company’s next chief executive officer. Charles W. Scharf, who is currently the Managing Director of One Equity Partners, which manages $10 billion of investments for JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), will assume the role of Visa’s new CEO on November 1, 2012.
The European Commission charged Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) with an antitrust violation after the company failed to comply with its commitment to allow users of its Windows operating system a choice of Internet browsers as per a 2009 settlement.
More reason to believe the housing market is finally on the mend came when the U.S. Commerce Department released the numbers on new single-family home sales for the month of September. Sales of new homes jumped 5.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted 389,000-unit annual rate, the highest level in nearly two-and-a-half years. Compared to last September, new home sales are up 27.1 percent.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has begun an informal probe to determine if Citigroup (NYSE:C) failed to provide material information surrounding the exit of former Chief Executive Vikram Pandit earlier this month. Both Pandit and Citigroup Chairman Michael O’Neill told investors in conference calls and interviews that the decision to step down was Pandit’s alone. However, reports later surfaced that after the markets closed the day before, the board served warning to Pandit that they were no longer confident in his abilities and advised he resign immediately.
Rajat Gupta, a former director at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday afternoon for his role in an insider trading fiasco. Gupta has been convicted by a jury on three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy. The jury found that he passed confidential information from Goldman Sachs to his friend and former business associate Raj Rajaratnam, a founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund. (Spoiler: $5 million penalty and two years in federal prison.)
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