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Markets closed way up on Wall Street today: S&P +1.63%, Nasdaq +1.33%, Dow +1.55%, Oil +0.89%, Gold +1.97%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSEARCA:USO) is up to $98.95 a barrel. Precious metals are also up, with Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) soaring to $1,768.00 an ounce, and Silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) up 4.18 percent to $34.62.
Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:
Today’s the day Ben Bernanke grabs the American economy by the collar and tells it to buck up. At least, that’s what quantitative easing round 3 will try to do. In QE3, the Federal Reserve has announced that it will be buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities every month until the labor market “improves substantially.” The funds rate will remain unchanged at “exceptionally low levels” until mid-2015.
Don’t Miss: QE3: Here’s Your Inside Scoop.
What’s drawing a lot of attention is that the Fed seems to be willing to indefinitely extend QE3 “if the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially.” So far, there doesn’t seem to be any metric which will determine when substantial improvement has been met.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) Chief Executive and Chair of President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness Jeff Immelt gave a positive assessment of the U.S. economy to those present at Wednesday night’s speech at West Virginia University in Morgantown.
“The U.S. economy, after a deep recession, gets a little bit better every day,” said the professed Republican. “We’re just in a slow steady climb out.” As to the rest of the world, Immelt said the European economy has remained tough but not “bad enough to really offset global momentum,” and that he expects solid growth in China.
Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) video conferencing software FaceTime, previously tethered to a Wi-Fi connection, is no open to cellular networks. FaceTime will challenge Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) recent acquisition, Skype. FaceTime seamlessly integrates into the Apple ecosystem, but it’s stuck there. Users can only call other FaceTime users. Skype, on the other hand, is growing its membership by 40 percent every year. With Windows Phone 8 making a push into the mobile market, built-in Skype could make the Microsoft OS more appealing than the Apple OS.
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