POLITICAL MESS: Stocks swooned after Republicans pulled a bill that would have raised taxes on the wealthy and extended tax cuts for other Americans. Markets have been on edge as the White House and Congressional Republicans squabble over how to reduce the U.S. government's budget deficit.
MARKET DISTRESS: The Dow Jones industrial average plunged as much as 189 points in early trading, then recouped some of its losses to end down 120 points at 13,190. It's still up 55 points for the week.
ANYONE'S GUESS: Neither house of Congress is expected to meet again until after Christmas. It's not clear how the two sides might get to a deal before Jan. 1, when automatic government spending cuts and tax increases are set to kick in if no deal is in place. "How we get there, God only knows," House Speaker John Boehner said.
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