Jobs Numbers, McDonald’s Bad Month, and the Holidays Come Early: Market Recap

The markets closed down again on Wall Street:

S&P 500: -1.22%Nasdaq: -1.42%, Dow: -0.94%Oil: +0.68%Gold: +1.09%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $85.01 per barrel. Precious metals were up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,732.70 per ounce, and Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbing to $32.40 per ounce, about five minutes before the bell.

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

Initial jobless claims for the week ending November 3 were 355,000, a drop of 8,000 from the week before. The four-week moving average came in at 370,500, an increase of 3,250 from the week before.

McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) closed down 1.99 percent after announcing that its global same-store sales fell 1.8 percent in October. The monthly same-store sales decline is the first in nine years, but was not unexpected. Analysts were predicting a drop of about 1 percent in global sales. Effects of the weak economy on sales have been compounded by competitive pressures.

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JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) reached an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, settling two investigations the regulator was conducting into the bank’s home-loan business. JPMorgan also received approval by the Federal Reserve to reinstate a $3 billion share buyback next quarter.

With holiday spending only expected to rise 4.1 percent this year, according to the National Retail Federation, down from 5.6 percent growth in 2011, retailers are looking for new ways to draw in shoppers and get an edge on the competition. For its part, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) will be kicking off its holiday sales earlier than ever before. Doors open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to slide, closing down 3.72 percent. Apple is now down 9.49 percent over the last five trading days, and 15.73 percent over the last month. While bears may be cheering, some bulls aren’t sweating.

China’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition starts on Thursday in Beijing, and the rest of the world is waiting to see how things would change in the coming days in one of the most important economic powers in the world. China is now the world’s largest exporter, the second-biggest economy overall, and controls over $3.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves.

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