By SALMAN MASOOD
Pakistani officials accused NATO of a helicopter attack on two military checkpoints at the northwestern border with Afghanistan that killed at least 25 soldiers.
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
The death of an unarmed protester threatened to stir up new protests as Egypt's rulers and politicians raced to prepare for potential chaos during Monday's elections.
By ANDREW E. KRAMER
The attacks occurred on a highway west of Baghdad and in a market in the city's center, as violence continued in the weeks before American troops leave.
By SOUAD MEKHENNET and MAÏA de la BAUME
The Justice and Development Party won a plurality of the vote, requiring the king to choose a prime minister from the party and giving it the right to lead a coalition government.
By HELENE COOPER
The Obama administration seems now to be openly trying to position the United States in such a way that regardless of who comes out on top in Egypt, it will keep some credibility.
By NADA BAKRI
Arab League officials said that the country's lack of action meant Arab finance ministers would meet in Cairo to discuss imposing sanctions.
Nov 26, 2011
NOVEMBER 26, 2011
MarketWatch's top stories of the week, Nov. 21-25
Here are the top 10 stories on MarketWatch that shaped the week of Nov. 21-25:
1. Economic Report: Third-quarter growth cut to 2% from 2.5%
The U.S. economy grew at a slower pace than originally estimated in the third quarter, mainly because companies reduced inventories and did not invest as much.
The Commerce Department cut its estimate of gross domestic product to 2.0% from a first reading of 2.5%. The government's second revision of GDP includes data not fully available earlier, such as inventory levels and trade data. As a result, it paints a more accurate picture of U.S. growth.Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected the government to trim its estimate to 2.3%.
Read more on U.S. GDP growth.
2. Number of U.S. banks in distress declines
Federal regulators say the number of U.S. banks in financial distress continues to decline, a trend that coincides with the ninth consecutive profitable quarter in the banking industry. At the end of the third quarter there were 844 "problem" institutions, down from the 865 problem institutions at the end of the second quarter, and less than the 888 on the list at the end of the first quarter, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported Tuesday.
Names of banks on the list are withheld. It is unclear whether the reduction in troubled banks on the list is a result of institutional failures or improvements. In the third quarter there were 26 bank failures and 21 banks dropped off the problem bank list. In the second quarter there were 22 bank failures and 23 banks came off the problem bank list. It is possible that a bank fails so fast that it is never on the problem list.
Read more on the number of distressed banks.
3. Market Extra: Poor German auction shows crisis hitting core
An auction of German government bonds technically failed Wednesday, underlining fears that the long-running crisis in European sovereign debt now threatens the core of the euro zone.
"It was awful," said Nick Stamenkovic, fixed-income economist at RIA Capital in Edinburgh. The sale of 6 billion euros ($8.1 billion) of 10-year government bonds, known as bunds, attracted bids totaling just €3.889 billion. The Bundesbank, which conducts auctions on behalf of the Germany's federal debt agency, accepted €3.644 billion in bids. That left the central bank to pick up the slack, retaining €2.356 billion of the supply, or 39% of the total amount on offer.
Read more on the German bond auction.
4. Trading Deck: When in doubt, follow the masters
The art of investing is an exercise in making decisions under conditions of uncertainty. But today, it seems that the cloud of uncertainty is a little thicker than usual. Despite having two years to discount the likelihood and consequences of default by one or multiple "PIIGS," the market's persistent volatility shows that investors are as uncertain as ever.
During times like these, I like to do what your college professor might have called "cheating." I like to look over the shoulders of other investors and see what they are doing. With all of this said, today I'm going to take a look at the portfolios of three of my favorite institutional investors: Mohnish Pabrai, Joel Greenblatt, and Prem Watsa.
Read more on The Trading Deck.
5. Irwin Kellner: Signs of life in the U.S. economy
Although you wouldn't know it from the way the stock market has been behaving over the past month, the economic outlook appears to be brightening.
Prosperity may not yet be just around the corner, but a growing number of economic statistics suggest that growth is shifting into a higher gear.
It's not "Happy Days are Here Again." It's not even "Morning in America." Rather, it's more like the glass is no longer half empty — it's half full.
What makes this step-up in economic activity even more interesting is that it is occurring just the way the textbooks say it should.
Read more from Irwin Kellner.
6. Economic Report: China manufacturing gauge shows contraction
HSBC's preliminary China manufacturing survey fell to a 32-month low in November, well below analysts' forecasts, with the reading signaling that the sector is now contracting.The Purchasing Managers Index printed at 48 on a 100-point scale, reversing from a mildly expansionary reading of 51 in October, HSBC reported Wednesday. Consensus forecasts had called for a 50.1 result, just above the 50 level, which separates expansion from contraction, according to CNBC.
HSBC economist Hongbin Qu said the data implied that industrial production would moderate to annualized growth rates of 11% to 12% in the coming months as domestic and external demand cools.He also said, however, that there was little in the data to suggest a major contraction was underway in China.
Read more on China's manufacturing data.
7. Peter Brimelow: Christian letter among 2011 top performers
Well, who's being thanked anyway?
Just as I predicted, reader comment on my news that a 2011 top performer was an explicitly Christian letter, Christian Value Investor, was decidedly Christophobic. So, buoyed by this popular demand, I'm celebrating Thanksgiving by writing about another explicitly Christian letter: Sound Mind Investing.
Actually, as with Christian Value Investor, Sound Mind Investing is solidly based on secular investment principles. And it has a strong long-term performance.
Read more Peter Brimelow.
8. Marsh on Monday: The euro must be split up
The world's greatest macroeconomic imbalances are not between the U.S. and China, as many believe, but within the not-so-united states of Europe.
This is just one result of the currency and competitive distortions caused by what German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls the "common destiny" of economic and monetary union. Destabilizing European current-account imbalances will need to be eliminated, sooner or later, by splitting up the euro area into a creditor and a debtor group.
Read more Marsh on Monday.
9. 6 turkeys to keep off your investing table
When you write about stupid investments, you sit at the head of a big Thanksgiving table of stocks, mutual funds, insurance policies, and other products that give folks reason to expect a return on their money. And like everyone else, I count my blessings at this time of year.
As the guy who writes Stupid Investment of the Week. I'm thankful for the offerings I see in the investment world that qualify under some definition of the word "stupid." These are products that are lacking normal intelligence, not clever, dazed, foolish, irrational, senseless, doltish, dim-witted, addlepated, and obtuse — for starters. Here are things which, as Stupid Investment of the Week columnist, I am particularly thankful for — but that anyone else would find unappetizing.
Read more Chick Jaffe.
10. Black Friday, Blue Stock Market
Hoping that the Black Friday reports are particularly good, showing robust consumer demand?You might want to hope for something else. That's because the initial reports of how retailers are doing on Black Friday are an unreliable guide to how the stock market performs through the end of the year. In fact, more often than not, it's been a bad omen whenever those initial reports are especially positive and stocks soar.
Read mor Mark Hulbert.
By David B. Wilkerson, MarketWatch
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) – Netflix Inc., Pozen Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are among the stocks that could see active trading on Monday.
Video rental provider Netflix Inc. NFLX -0.17% fell 6.7% Friday, extending Wednesday’s losses, after it warned that it could post a loss for 2012 and that it plans to sell $400 million in stock and debt. The company has yet to recover from a series of missteps, most notably related to a 60% price hike announced in July.
Pozen POZN +0.28% soared 45% on news it has sold its rights to future royalties on U.S. sales of its pain reliever compound MT 400 to CPPIB Credit Investments for $75 million up front plus certain payments.
Amazon.com AMZN +0.33% will be a focus during what has become known as Cyber Monday, when consumers go online to find the best holiday-shopping deals.
David B. Wilkerson is a reporter for MarketWatch in Chicago.