Stocks are falling today, ending a three-day string of gains. The big news last night was that Steve Jobs was stepping down as Apple’s (AAPL) CEO but would still stay with the company in another capacity. Investors have been bracing for the inevitable for a while, and have expected Tim Cook to replace Jobs as Apple’s new CEO. Shares of the iPhone maker are only down 1 percent, and fell only as low as 3 percent today despite speculation that Jobs’ departure as the company’s head would have a catastrophic effect on the stock price. In financials, Warren Buffet has once again stepped in to help ailing bank stocks. This time, the Oracle of Omaha and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) CEO–who himself is no stranger to succession speculation–invested $5 billion in Bank of America (BAC). Bank of America has arguably been one of the most distressed stocks in the market the last few months, but a show of confidence from Buffett helped boost shares of the struggling bank by almost 26 percent at one point today. Shares of BofA are currently up by over 11 percent. The terms of the investment are similar to the one Buffett made in Goldman Sachs (GS) and General Electric (GE) in 2008. Elsewhere, the Labor Department announced today that initial jobless claims jumped again to 417,000 last week and revised numbers up from two weeks ago as well. The 5,000 increase in claims applicants was more than expected by economists. In commodities, oil prices are edging lower to around $84 a barrel, and precious metals are struggling with increased margin requirements. Gold has fallen hard after a recent hot streak pushed prices over $1,900 an ounce.
Major U.S. Stock Indices
DJIA: 11,153.91 (-1.47 percent)
S&P 500: 1,159.60 (-1.53 percent)
NASDAQ: 2,426.55 (-1.67 percent)
Russell 2000: 679.16 (-1.94 percent)
In other news:
- Warren Buffett is the one-man bailout machine whose market credibility, and not necessarily his money, that’s most valuable to distress blue-chip companies. [Contrary Indicator]
- Investors have spent the week hinging the market’s direction on what the Federal Reserve will say on Friday, but most economists are leaning against a third round of quantitative easing. [Marketwatch]
- Interesting selections for a Corporate Dream Team. Who else picked Citigroup’s (C) Vikram Pandit as their ideal CEO? [Fortune]
- China’s military is growing fast, just as the U.S. is focusing on defense spending cuts. [Reuters]
- France, Spain, and Italy market regulators are extending the ban on short-selling, perhaps to wait out the financial storm and stock volatility. [Bloomberg]
Check back for more news.