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

Today’s Top Stories:

  • GS Morning Update: “Stocks in Asia were mixed Wednesday with local China A shares markets giving back some of the gains seen on Tuesday as investors likely continue to debate the trajectory of China’s monetary policy. And stocks in Europe are also opening mixed amidst little news. Investors will likely turn to US single stock earnings reports for market guidance now that China has released all of its activity reports and macro news is fairly quiet, at least for a few days” (GS)
  • Citi 4Q Investment Banking Results: Total Investment Banking revenue of $645 million, down -43.7% vs. last year http://bit.ly/yV2PDu
  • Iranian Strike: Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday any decision about an Israeli attack on Iran was very far off (Reuters)
  • Earnings Season Is Terrible: “S&P 500 Profit Season Has Worst Start in Years” with only 47% of companies reported since 12/1 have beaten expectations (usually north of 50%) (BBG)
  • Debt Ceiling Vote Coming: House Republicans on Wednesday are expected to vote to disapprove a request by President Obama to add $1.2 trillion to the $15.2 trillion federal debt (TheHill.com)
  • Icahn Adds CVR Energy: After market close on Friday, billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 14.54% stake in the outstanding common stock of CVR Energy (NYSE:CVI) http://bit.ly/xgZ4lI
  • Goldman 4Q Earnings: The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS) today reported net revenues of $28.81 billion and net earnings of $4.44 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011. Diluted earnings per common share were $4.51 compared with $13.18 for the year ended December 31, 2010 http://bit.ly/AynNHT
  • Hussman Funds on Uncertainty: John P. Hussman, Ph.D. is out with his weekly commentary this week titled, “Dwelling in Uncertainty” and he makes some very interesting points on the current state of the economyhttp://bit.ly/ywlCG8
  • Yahoo Founder Leaves: YHOO’s co-founder Jerry Yang has quit the company he founded 2 decades ago, raising hopes that co may have fewer barriers to being sold or split up
  • State & Local Governments: “State and local government payrolls have been a noticeable weak spot in an otherwise gradually recovering labor market, reducing overall nonfarm payrolls by roughly 250k in Q3 compared with the prior year. State and local employment is likely to depend most directly on tax receipts, which saw sharp declines during the crisis. Reduced federal grants to state governments may also be putting pressure on state payrolls. House prices do not appear to have a strong relationship with historical changes in state and local payrolls, but the concentration of recent state and local payroll declines leaves little doubt that at least indirectly, house prices have been a contributing factor” (GS)
  • U.S. Farm Equipment: “In the U.S., farmer sentiment has never been so positive, with demand for farm equipment continuing to surprise on the upside” (CS)

M&A Watch:

  • Weekly M&A Trends: M&A volumes increased 44% while equity and debt underwriting rose substantially http://bit.ly/yZJ4HN
  • TGT temporarily ends efforts to sell credit card receivable
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.
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