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It was a rough day in the markets, but it could’ve been a whole lot worse..First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,190, -120.8, -0.9 per cent
S&P 500: 1,430, -13.5, -0.9 per cent
NASDAQ: 3,021, -29.3, -0.9 per cent

And now the top stories:

  • Today’s market sell-off really began last night when a key fiscal cliff vote got delayed after House Speaker John Boehner embarrassingly failed to secure enough votes to support the measure.  Futures instantly plummeted.
  • Last night’s failure makes it unlikely that a deal will get sealed before the year’s over, writes Nomura’s Lewis Alexander.
  • On the bright side, durable goods orders jumped 0.7 per cent in November, which was much higher than the 0.3 per cent gain economists were looking for. Excluding transportation, the durable goods number unexpectedly jumped 1.6 per cent; economists were looking for a 0.2 per cent decline.
  • The most telling aspect of the report is capital expenditures excluding defence and aircraft.  This leading indicator, which is closely followed by the likes of David Rosenberg and Paul McCulley, has turned up sharply quelling fears of a recession.
  • Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to 72.9, its lowest level since July.  Economists were looking for reading of 75.0, up from 74.5 a month ago.
  • One big loser in the stock market was Herbalife, which has been on the wrong end of Bill Ackman’s wrath.  Ackman, a famed hedge fund manager, has accumulated an enormous short position on the company.  He has explicitly argued that the company is a pyramid scheme.
  • Markets will be open on Monday, but will close at 1:00 PM ET.
  • Don’t Miss: DAVID ROSENBERG PRESENTS: 34 Charts You Must See Before Making A Move In 2013 >
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