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Mark Gongloff is off the newsletter this morning, so today's 7.5 Things are brought to you by Jillian Berman.
Thing One: Greek Tragedy Strikes Again: Here’s one reason to be thankful you live in America: Your country isn’t suffering from a crippling debt crisis that leaders can’t agree on a way to solve. (Well, I mean, there's that whole fiscal cliff dance blah blah but that actually doesn't seem as bad.) After 11 hours of talking, Eurozone finance ministers and representatives from the IMF and European Central Bank failed to agree on a way to fix Greece’s debt problem. Though it’s unlikely that the country will be denied more aid, figuring out exactly how to deliver that aid has been very difficult, mostly because Europe’s official naysayer Angela Merkel is getting in the way, The New York Times reports.
A group of creditors, led by Germany, refused to offer up new aid and the leaders were unable to find enough money from other sources to help Greece, according to Bloomberg. As a result, Greece’s next aid payment is still frozen until at least Monday. The country's debt will hit 190 percent of its economy by 2014.
Many of the leaders played down the divisions at the meeting, but German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in reality many were actually divided on major issues like how to plug a hole in Greece’s finances, according to Reuters. For their part, Greek leaders claim they’ve complied with the tough terms of the bailout, but they need more time to reach the targets mandated by the country’s lenders because the economy has shrunk.
Thing Two: Time To Freak Out About Twinkies Again: If you thought the panic over the Twinkie-pocalypse was over you would be seriously mistaken. Hostess’ last-minute mediation with the Bakers Union failed, meaning the company will move ahead with plans to liquidate, lay off all of its 18,500 workers and stop making Twinkies and Ding Dongs, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Though both Hostess and the union had agreed to the mediation -- ordered by a bankruptcy judge on Monday -- Hostess executives warned it was unlikely to save the company given that it had already lost several days-worth of business.
Hostess officials said it may comment further after a bankruptcy court hearing Wednesday, according to Reuters. Still, just because mediation failed doesn’t mean that Ding Dongs and Ho-Hos are gone forever. Hostess has offers to buy some of its most valuable brands, including one from the owner of hipster favorite Pabst Brewing Co..
Thing Three: Elusive Target Finally Kind Of Hit: Regulators have finally put a bullseye on a target they’ve been eying for years. Billionaire stock picker Steven A. Cohen just got caught up in what some are calling the most lucrative insider trading scheme in U.S. history, The New York Times reports. The Manhattan U.S. attorney charged Mathew Martoma, a former portfolio manager at a unit of Cohen’s firm, with netting more than $276 million thanks to secret information he gleaned from a neurology professor about an Alztheimer’s drug.
Though Cohen wasn’t charged or mentioned by name in the complaint, regulators allege that Martoma worked closely with someone named “Portfolio Manager A,” who is believed to be Cohen, according to the Wall Street Journal. The case could have implications for future complaints, it’s part of a broader crackdown on Wall Street traders getting early information on clinical trials of drugs.
Thing Four: Labor Officials Ruin Walmart's Thanksgiving: If you’re headed to Walmart, your Black Friday shopping may be interrupted by protests. Federal labor officials say it’s unlikely they’ll take action by the Thanksgiving holiday on a request by Walmart to stop the planned Black Friday strikes, according to Reuters. Walmart filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board last week claiming the protests are illegal.
On Tuesday, OUR Walmart -- a union-backed labor group that is organizing the protests -- filed a complaint with the NLRB claiming that Walmart spokesman David Tovar’s comments to CBS News that “there could be consequences” if employees don’t show up for work are unlawful threats, according to The New York Times. Tovar has been on somewhat of a media tour this week defending the company in advance of the strikes, including appearances on CNN, Fox News and the aforementioned CBS interview.
Thing Five: Fiscal Cliff Will Probably Hurt The Poor: If you think rich people are actually going to boost their taxes enough to help America, think again. The White House would like raise $1.6 trillion by boosting taxes on the wealthy and though this is technically possible, Annie Lowery of The New York Times writes, it’s probably politically unfeasible. Instead, if President Obama and Congress can’t come to agreement on this point and others, low-income families will likely suffer the most from the country falling off the so-called fiscal cliff, according to the Wall Street Journal. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned about the dangers of going over the cliff, saying on Tuesday that failure to reach a deal would result in a “substantial threat” to the recovery, according to Bloomberg.
Thing Seven: Government Sues Another Big Bank: The New York Attorney General sued Credit Suisse, Tuesday, accusing the bank of lying to investors about the quality of home loans in its mortgage-backed securities. The lawsuit is the second of its kind against a major bank in two months, writes Ben Hallman of The Huffington Post, and it’s just the latest to come from a financial crisis task force formed by President Obama in January that aims to hold major banks and mortgage lenders accountable for their actions in the lead up to the crisis.
Thing Seven And A Half: Obama Saves Some Turkeys, Sort Of: Today President Obama will continue a time honored tradition and save two 19-week-old turkeys from becoming Thanksgiving dinner by pardoning them. Unfortunately though, a presidential pardon doesn’t guarantee a great future for a turkey, check out this piece from The Huffington Post’s Arin Greenberg to see what past pardoned turkeys are up to now.
Calendar Du Jour:
8:30 a.m. ET: Initial Jobless Claims for Nov. 17
9:55 a.m. ET: University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for November
10:00 a.m. ET: Leading Economic Indicators for October
Before Market Open: Deere
Heard On The Tweets:
-- Tweets rounded up by Alexis Kleinman.