Market Wrap: BofA BREAKS $8, AT&T Exec Pleads Guilty, NVIDIA’s Microsoft Win

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: 
Dow +0.75%, S&P +0.98%, Nasdaq +1.19%, Oil +0.85%, Gold -0.51%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $0.85 a barrel. Precious metals declined, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,619 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.36% to settle at $28.31.

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

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) unveiled a line of tablet computers on Monday that included a consumer device aimed directly at the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad, and another, larger machine designed to compete directly with lightweight laptops like Apple’s MacBook Air and the Ultrabooks it inspired. Both will be powered by versions of the new Windows 8 operating system, and each has a keyboard that doubles as a cover.

Featured Reading: Is Microsoft’s New Tablet an iPad CRUSHER?

A former AT&T (NYSE:T) executive pleaded guilty on Monday to having leaked information about Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry sales numbers to hedge fund operators who made illegal trades using the information. Alnoor Ebrahim, who the Wall Street Journal described as the former director of channel marketing and sales operations for AT&T Mobility’s wireless group, admitted to having worked as a consultant for “expert-network” group Primary Global Research LLC, sharing private corporate information with the firm between 2008 and 2010.

Bank of America Corp.’s (NYSE:BAC) shares increased 4.5 percent after Julius Baer Holding announced it was conducting talks to buy the company’s Merrill Lynch international wealth management business. In a statement today, Baer said, “Given the early stage of these discussions, the outcome is entirely open.” Meanwhile, Bank of America’s spokesman Jan Vonder Muehll would not elaborate on the news.

Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:BONT) shares increased 10 percent on the news that company plans to sell its $475 million private label credit-card business to Alliance Data (NYSE:ADS). The deal’s terms weren’t disclosed but it is “consistent with industry norms.”

Nvidia Corp.’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) shares rose 6.7 percent after Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) said it will sell in its new tablet, the Spark, the company’s ARM-based processor. Nomura analyst Romit Shah wrote in a research note to investors about the tablet’s features and said, “Those are interesting features, in our opinion, that should drive incremental revenue for Nvidia.” The analyst placed a “Buy” rating on Nvidia’s stock with a $18 price target.