Here we go - a reversal of tone in the fiscal cliff negotiations. The spirit of compromise can last only so long in Washington before shifting into another political stalemate that holds the short term economic balance of the country at stake. After encouraging face to face meetings and talk of cooperation between US President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week, the tide has quickly turned and comments made by the President on Wednesday indicated that Republicans were not playing nice and making the negotiations personal, without taking into account what's best for the country. It was only a matter of time before the talks headed south and now - with only a handful of working days left before the end of the year - it gets interesting.
Fitch Ratings warned on Wednesday that if a deal is not reached by year-end, the agency was prepared to downgrade the US credit rating from its current "AAA" standing. Should such an eventuality take place, it would likely add to any downward pressure created by the combination of swift tax increases and spending cuts that would result from the lack of a cliff deal anyway and potentially bring some pain to the portfolios of investors large and small. With those thoughts in mind the markets, which had been trading green for the better part of the day, slipped into red territory as investors digested the latest headlines.
The pressure is on to get a deal done and the politicians know this, so the end game is likely to be a deal, or at the very least an agreement to extend the deadline for a short time while the final touches are put on an agreement. This time there's too much at stake to let it go on for too long.
In addition to developments surrounding the cliff negotiations, Wednesday was a pretty big news day for some popular stocks and stories. There are also a few more heating up for the remainder of the week - Here are just a few of them...