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Gathering Round the Fire at Camp David

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Michael Gottschalk | AFP | Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall at tonight's Group of 8 nations (G8) dinner at Camp David, particularly when President Barack Obama tries to take aside German Chancellor Angela Merkel and nudge her toward more growth-oriented initiatives?

Merkel is now effectively isolated from her European colleagues: from Spain's Mariano Rajoy, from Italy's Mario Monti, from France's Francois Hollande, and from the U.K.'s David Cameron.

The European Union leaders will meet in Brussels next Wednesday, but this is an important warm-up.

Either way, it's looking increasingly like Merkel is going to have to write a check. A much bigger check.

Martin Wolf, writing in the Financial Times, summarized what many believe will be the course of events, whether or not Greece stays in the euro zone: A firm commitment to keep the euro together, the European Central Bank acting as a lender of last resort, Eurobonds (joint and several liability), and possibly a cap on interest rates for sovereign bonds.

By the way, the G8 is one of the world's strangest clubs. You think it's a forum for countries with the eight largest economies in the world, right? Uh, no. It doesn't include China or Brazil, which are among the eight largest. When it was created in 1976, it was the Group of 6 (U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K.), then it became the Group of 7 when Canada joined, then the G8 when Russia was let in in 1997.

Elsewhere:

1) Ugh! The markets are in serious trouble. The last hour yesterday was simply horrifying: Buyers walked away, stocks dropped, volatility hit the highest levels of the year, and volume picked up.

The S&P 500 index, down 3.6 percent, is having its worst week since Nov. 26. Believe it or not, we're doing better than everybody else:

Country This Week Worst Since Week Ended

Portugal -7.60% Aug. 6
UK -5.02% Sept. 24
Italy -6.20% Nov. 26
Spain -5.93% Nov. 26
Germany -3.98% Dec. 17
France -3.65% April 14

2) I'm alone at the New York Stock Exchange! My colleagues Jim Cramer, Melissa Lee, David Faber are at the Nasdaq, Carl Quintanilla is in Menlo Park, Calif., for the Facebook initial public offering. But NYSE won't be left out of this. There will be trading in Facebook on Arca, the NYSE's electronic trading platform, once it opens on Nasdaq about 11 a.m. ET.

In fact, NYSE Euronext will have a dedicated trade matching engine just for Facebook trades. And Nasdaq has been testing its systems all week. Everyone wants to make sure there are NO GLITCHES in the trading.

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