U.S. Debt Supercommittee Ready to Announce Failure (Bloomberg)
A debt-reduction committee with special powers that was supposed to dissolve congressional gridlock in Washington is instead on the brink of failure, setting the stage for $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts. The 12-member bipartisan supercommittee likely will announce today that it can’t reach agreement on deficit savings, according to a Democratic aide...U.S. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican who sits on the panel, said Democrats turned down a final offer that included $250 billion in new revenue by eliminating some tax breaks even as it lowered income tax rates. “There’s a group of folks that will not cut a dollar unless we also raise taxes,” Kyl said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who serves on the committee, called Kyl’s statement “patently not true” and said Democrats agreed to $917 billion in spending cuts with no new revenue as part of the August agreement to raise the debt ceiling. The latest Republican plan, said Kerry, “still results in the biggest tax cut since the Great Depression.”
Buffett Doubts Euro Survival (CNBC)
“The system as presently designed has revealed a major flaw. And that flaw won’t be corrected just by words. Europe will either have to come closer together or there will have to be some other rearrangement because this system is not working,” Buffett said in an interview. Asked whether the union would survive this crisis, Buffett said: “That’s in doubt now.”
Moody's Warns France On Rating (WSJ)
Moody's Investors Service warned Monday that its stable outlook on France's triple-A rating is under pressure, in another sign the euro zone's sovereign-debt crisis is spreading from the bloc's smaller and weaker states toward core economies.
Buffett Invites Analysts To Berkshire Meeting (WSJ)
After decades of largely shunning Wall Street analysts, Warren Buffett is preparing to give them a prominent voice at his company's biggest event. Three research analysts will join Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders in questioning the billionaire and his business partner, Charlie Munger, at the conglomerate's annual meeting next year. The event started with 12 attendees 30 years ago and now draws tens of thousands of people to Mr. Buffett's hometown of Omaha, Neb., each spring to pay homage to the world's most famous investor and hear him speak.
Buffett Could Spend $10 Billion On Next Investment (Bloomberg)
“We like the A part better,” Buffett said in an interview with Bloomberg News in Fukushima prefecture in northern Japan, referring to a preference for acquisitions over mergers. “On the Lubrizol transaction I think we spent about $8.7 billion. We’d love another one like that -- we can handle that. We can manage somewhat larger. We can handle a $10 billion deal very comfortably.”
Theodore Forstmann, Private Equity Pioneer, Is Dead at 71 (Dealbook)
Theodore J. Forstmann, a colorful financier and philanthropist who helped pioneer leveraged buyouts, died on Sunday at the age of 71. The cause was brain cancer, his spokesman said. Mr. Forstmann, who lived in Manhattan had been diagnosed with a malignant glioma earlier this year.
Picking Carcass Of MF Global (WSJ)
Centerbridge Partners, a $10 billion private-equity and hedge-fund firm, purchased as much as $15 million of MF Global's bank debt on the heels of the firm's collapse in late October, according to people familiar with the matter. David Tepper, who manages about $14 billion at hedge fund Appaloosa Management LP, bought nearly $50 million worth of MF Global investments, including shares, bonds and bank debt...Big hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. is on MF Global's creditor's committee, and traders say the firm owns a significant amount of MF Global's debt, though it isn't clear when it was accumulated. Other hedge funds say they also bought MF Global's shares, which traded at about 13 cents on Friday, down from nearly $8 six months ago.
As Bears Multiply, Human Clashes (WSJ)
Bear populations have surged so much that several states, including Nevada, Oklahoma and New Jersey, have started or expanded bear hunting seasons. Texas is circulating a brochure that tells hunters what to do if a bear wanders into camp. ("Talk in a calm manner...Do not run!...Do not play dead!")..."There are now bears in areas of the country where there haven't been bears since the colonial days," said Rick Winslow, a carnivore biologist with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish...Black bears aren't as menacing as grizzlies, which can top 800 pounds. In recent months, grizzlies have attacked and injured hikers in and around Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Two hikers were killed by grizzlies in Yellowstone this summer.
Occupy Wall Street takes drum circle to Bloomberg's doorstep (AMNY)
Hundreds of demonstrators marched to Bloomberg's Upper East Side home Saturday for what they hoped would be a 24-hour drum circle outside his building. Some danced, a few played on wind and brass instruments, and others banged on snare drums, pots and pans. Police blocked off the sidewalks on Bloomberg's street and corralled the demonstrators on Fifth Avenue between 78th and 79th streets, kettling them into a pen where they were drumming and dancing. As of press time, the scene was generally peaceful and without incident. A police spokesman said they had no plans to make the protesters leave.
Outrage Over Police Spraying Students (CBS)
As video spread of an officer in riot gear blasting pepper spray into the faces of seated protesters at a northern California university, outrage came quickly — followed almost as quickly by defense from police and calls for the chancellor's resignation. University of California Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a statement Saturday she was forming a task force to investigate the police action and the video images she said were "chilling." However, a law enforcement official who watched the clip called the use of force "fairly standard police procedure." In the video, an officer dispassionately pepper-sprays a line of several sitting protesters who flinch and cover their faces but remain passive with their arms interlocked as onlookers shriek and scream out for the officer to stop...At a news conference, Katehi said what the video shows is, "sad and really very inappropriate" but defended her leadership and said she had no plans to resign...In the video of the UC Davis protest, the officer, a member of the university police force, displays a bottle before spraying its contents on the seated protesters in a sweeping motion while walking back and forth. Most of the protesters have their heads down, but several were hit directly in the face.
Lobbying Firm's Memo Spells Out Plan to Undermine Occupy Wall Street (MSNBC)
A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo...The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association. CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians.
Housing Market May Be Nearing Bottom (WSJ)
But don't get too excited: "Construction is picking up but remains at historically depressed levels, and broader sales activity is still anemic. Indeed, the National Association of Realtors' existing-home sales report, out Monday, is likely to show a second straight monthly decline in October to a seasonally adjusted annualized pace of about 4.8 million units. That would mean the sales rate has dropped by more than 10% so far this year. Meanwhile, the foreclosure supply is ticking back up."
US Billionaires Avoid Reporting Gains To IRS (Bloomberg)
“The 800-pound gorilla is unrealized appreciation,” said Edward J. McCaffery, a professor of law, economics and political science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Fatal Egypt Clashes Fuel Investor Concern (Bloomberg)
“One of the main concerns for investors after the protests and the exit of Mubarak from the scene has been how long and protracted the transition period is,” said Raza Agha, senior economist for the Middle East and North Africa at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in London. “For an economy with as pressing considerations as Egypt, with high financing requirements, these day-to-day protests and strikes have a huge impact on risk perceptions,” he said. “The parliamentary elections are important but they’re certainly not the end of the uncertainty.”
Man who used counterfit cash to buy movie theater snacks sentenced to 80 years in prison (DN)
A career thief who tried to pay for a movie theater hotdog with a fake $20 bill was sentenced on Friday to 80 years in prison. On Wednesday, jurors in state district Judge Everett Young's court deliberated about three hours in convicting Charles Cleveland Nowden, 48, of forgery for passing the counterfeit money. During the trial, prosecutors Dawn Ferguson and Lisa Callaghan presented evidence that on Nov. 6, 2009, Nowden tried to pay for two hot dogs, two cokes and a tub of popcorn with a $20 counterfeit bill at a Mansfield movie theater.