Every morning the Street of Walls team puts out an update on market levels, today’s top stories, and active M&A deals.

Today’s Top Stories:

  • Best NYC Pizza Shops: Manhattan is home to some of the country’s oldest and most celebrated pizzerias, but the great metropolis also holds many mediocre sliceshttp://on.wsj.com/uT66bw
  • FREE 60pg HF Holdings: AAPL was by far the most crowded position in the top 8 holdings for hedge funds: Greenlight, Lone Pine, Blue Ridge, and Tiger all have AAPL as the largest position in their holdings. Other large crowded positions include AMZN, GOOG, NWSA, MSFT, and WFChttp://bit.ly/sTz8QM
  • 3Q Financial Services Compensation Report: Johnson Associates is out with its Q3 2011 financial services compensation estimate reporthttp://bit.ly/sbMEz6 We also break out Investment Banking Bonuses
  • ECB Speech: Draghi (ECB President) emphasizes the dysfunction currently plaguing sovereign bond markets: “Dysfunctional government bond markets in several euro area countries hamper the single monetary policy because the way this policy is transmitted to the real economy depends also on the conditions of the bond markets in the various countries. An impaired transmission mechanism for monetary policy has a damaging impact on the availability and price of credit to firms and households” http://bit.ly/syr8ym
  • BAC Update: US court OKs expedited appeal of BofA $8.5 bln MBS accord (Reuters)
  • HF’s getting out of stocks: according to a recent BoA/ML report, HFs slashed their exposure to stocks (both on long and short basis) to the lowest level since ’08. HFs have raised cash levels to ~6.8%http://bit.ly/vyZNkX
  • GETCO buy BAC’s Trading Operation: On Wednesday, Getco said it reached an agreement to buy most of Bank of America Corp.’s floor-trading operation at the New York Stock Exchange. While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, the Chicago-based company said it will become the exchange’s second-largest designated market-maker, handling about a third of all daily stock trades there http://on.wsj.com/vOCEKz
  • DB Selling AM Arm: Deutsche Bank starts talks with bidders for its asset-management unit and also considers bids for parts of the unit instead of selling it as a whole (Dow Jones)
  • Preventing Tax Cuts: Republicans in both houses of Congress said Wednesday that they wanted to prevent an increase in Social Security payroll taxes that would otherwise occur in January, but they remained far apart from Democrats on the specifics of how to do ithttp://nyti.ms/vMebCb
  • JPM Cutting Compensation: JPM is damping employees’ salary and bonus expectations as the lender wraps up year-end performance reviews, said three executives familiar with the process (BBG)

Economic Calendar:

  • Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims/Continuing Claims, Construction spending, ISM Manufacturing
  • Friday: Nonfarm Payrolls, Unemployment Rate

M&A Watch:

  • Getco said it reached an agreement to buy most of Bank of America Corp.’s floor-trading operation at the New York Stock Exchange
  • Yahoo Sale: An Alibaba led group also has the best potential to unlock this value in a tax free manner as it could re-acquire this 40% ownership interest in a transaction that would essentially act more like an asset swap than an outright sale
Disclosure: I do not have a position in any stocks mentioned in this article, do not have a plan to initiate a position within the next 72 hours.
Disclaimer:  The information, opinions, material, and any other content provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not to be used or considered an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities, investment products, financial instruments, or to participate in any particular investment strategy. The information, opinions, material, and any other content provided in this article does not constitute as a recommendation or as advice to buy or sell securities, investment products,  financial instruments, or to participate in any particular investment strategy.