MARKETS FALL AND THINGS GET WORSE AGAIN IN EUROPE: Here's What You Need To Know

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Stocks tanked on a worrisome day of news from Europe and buzz about insider trading in Congress.

But first, here’s your scoreboard:

Dow: -71.86 pts, -0.59%

S&P 500: -11.54 pts, -0.91%

NASDAQ: -20.46, -0.76%

And now, the top stories:

  • Newly appointed Italian PM Mario Monti began talks today to form a new government. Analysts hope that his cabinet will hail largely from outside the political establishment and will swiftly pass new economic reforms to spur growth and cut spending.
  • Asian markets closed positive after Japan released its first positive GDP growth data in four quarters. Its economy grew at an annual rate of 6% in the third quarter, or 1.5% quarter-over-quarter.
  • The cost of insuring French, Belgian and Spanish debt hit records today, with credit default swaps hitting their highest levels ever (via ZeroHedge). In an interview on CNBC, Warren Buffett waxed pessimistic about the imminence or feasibility of a solution to the eurozone crisis.
  • Italian bond yields were on the rise again today, after a mediocre bond auction this morning. Yields on 10-year bonds ended up 25 bps today at 6.70%. Click to see how similar, really, Italy is to Greece >
  • Buffett also revealed that Berkshire Hathaway owns $10.7 billion in IBM stock, or 5.5% of the company. Shares of IBM rose 0.18% to $187.53 on a negative day. Check out the 18 most brilliant insights from the legendary Warren Buffet >
  • Italian bank UniCredit SpA reported a massive loss of $14.54 billion today, largely owing to debt writedowns. It will seek $10.3 billion to meet EU capital requirements and will reportedly cut 5,000 jobs. Its plan to stop lending to shore up its balance sheet could be evidence of a major, growing problem in the EU banking system that has fallen out of focus recently.
  • Disney bought Babble Media, we discovered from a source. It reportedly nabbed the hipster mummy blogging website for $40-45 million. Shares fell over 2% on the day.
  • A new insider trading scandal is brewing in Washington, D.C. after a report on CBS’s 60 Minutes revealed that lawmakers can legally trade on non-public information they come across as part of their official duties. Here are the favourite stocks of members of Congress >
  • Hungary is set to become the newest focus of European crisis fears with ratings agencies set to downgrade its sovereign debt to junk. Everyone’s worried that could harm AAA-rated Austria.
  • Home goods retailer Lowe’s beat earnings expectations, reporting an EPS of $0.35 per share rather than an expected $0.33. It reportedly saw success when it made temporary cost cuts permanent.
  • DON’T MISS: A Brilliant Overview Of Where The Markets And The Economy Are Right Now >

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