"Stock indexes headed lower on last day of year" (Yahoo Finance via AP) "Investors are taking profits after a strong year in the stock market. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average are both up 14 percent for the year, including dividends, as a result of solid corporate earnings. The Nasdaq composite index, meanwhile, is up about 18 percent for the year after dividends."
Merkel Still Behind the Euro (Wall Street Journal) "German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday stressed the importance of the euro to Germany despite recent problems, calling the common currency the basis of European prosperity. 'Europe stands in these months in the middle of a great test,' Mrs. Merkel said, according to an advance copy of her New Year's Eve speech to be delivered later in the day. German Chancellor Angela Merkel after her annual New Year's speech in Berlin. 'We have to strengthen the euro," she said. "Germany needs Europe and our common currency.'"
MBIA Shares Up after JPMorgan Drops Insurance Split Suit (Bloomberg) "MBIA Inc. shares surged after JPMorgan Chase Bank NA and Barclay’s Bank Plc said they are withdrawing from a lawsuit over the company’s decision to split its insurance unit in two. The bond insurer’s stock rose 8.8 percent to $10.36, the most in the Russell 1000 Index today and its biggest gain since Oct. 14.In February 2009, the Armonk, New York-based debt insurer separated its municipal bond insurance business from its structured-finance guarantees, including those on mortgage- related securities that caused MBIA to lose its AAA credit ratings in 2008. In May 2009, Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase, UBS AG and 15 of the world’s largest financial companies sued MBIA, saying that the split illegally cut their odds of getting paid on structured-finance policies."