Afternoon Roundup: Today's Top Stories


At The Motley Fool, we know our readers like to be informed. We have scouted out today's most relevant news items and brought them to you all on one page. We hope you find this midday edition informative and useful.

In a letter released Wednesday, visionary and leader Steve Jobs announced his resignation as Apple's (NAS: AAPL) CEO. The founder and creative force of the company took a leave of absence in January to focus on his health. He was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant. In his resignation letter, Jobs recommended that the board name COO Tim Cook as his successor. Cook, a 13-year Apple veteran, had been running the company during Jobs' leave of absence and was seen as the most natural successor. Cook began CEO duties immediately.

Apple shares fell by about 5% during after-hours trading Wednesday, but have largely recovered. Many believe it was a matter of when and not if Jobs would leave his position, and remain unshaken about Apple's bright future. The board appointed Jobs as chairman and Cook became an immediate member. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

Buffett to B of A's rescue
Bank of America
(NYS: BAC) , the country's largest bank, announced that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYS: BRK.A) would invest $5 billion in the bank. Bank of America had been drained of funds due to liabilities associated with subprime mortgages. In the deal, the bank will sell cumulative perpetual stock to Berkshire, which pays an annual 6% dividend. Berkshire will also get warrants to buy about 700 million shares at $7.41 each.

Bank of America had lost half of its value up until yesterday on worries it would have to access the public market to raise capital. Under new international regulation standards, banks will need to meet higher capital requirements, which Bank of America was not expected to meet. The bank's stock price jumped more than 20% in early morning trading, but has moderated a bit since. Read more atBloomberg.

Even though a court upheld Myriad Genetics' (NAS: MYGN) patents on two genes that could help predict breast cancer, outdated and costly technology is working against the company's primary money maker. For $3,340, the company conducts a test on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, looking for mutations that may increase the risk of cancer. Some experts say the test has become incomplete and too expensive for what it produces. The test accounts for 88% of the company's revenue. Experts say newer DNA-sequencing technology gives results faster and at a fraction of the cost. Soon, the technology will be able to scan the entire human genome for the price Myriad scans two genes. The company said it is preparing to combat this adversity and improve its technology. Read more atThe New York Times.

Oil giants have been having a particularly hard time during the market's volatility, but it seems that they may be the better option as opposed to investing in oil itself. Brent crude oil prices are at $110 a barrel, 15% above its price at the beginning of the year despite the crisis in Libya. Meanwhile, analysts are predicting oil will have an average price of only $106 for 2011. The risk of a dip in oil prices puts the actual producers, like ExxonMobil (NYS: XOM) , in a better place. Exxon has seen a drop in its price of about 10%, lower than at the end of 2008, even though Brent prices have doubled since then. According to Citigroup, the European oil titans are priced for a long-term Brent price of $75, creating a buffer in case commodities continue to fall. This gives investors in Exxon, Chevron (NYS: CVX) , and ConocoPhillips (NYS: COP) the possibility of better returns in addition to a 5.5% yield on dividends. Read more atThe Wall Street Journal.

So there you have it, the top financial stories for this afternoon. If you are interested in getting all the news and commentary on these stocks, use the links below to put them on your free stock-tracking watchlist.

At the time thisarticle was published Michelle Zayed doesn't own any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple and Chevron.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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