INVESTOR VERTIGO: The U.S. is approaching the "cliff" and investors don't like what they see ahead. Stocks slumped this week as investors turned their focus to spending cuts and tax hikes that might kick in at the beginning of next year unless Congress acts.
POLITICAL WRANGLING: The prospect for a renewed round of political bickering spooked investors, who've seen this before. In 2008 lawmakers voted down a $700 billion rescue package for the U.S. financial system, sending stocks spiraling downward, and last year haggling over the debt ceiling precipitated a credit rating downgrade for the U.S. government and a stock market slump.
MEEK MOUSE: Walt Disney dropped $2.98 to $47.06, the biggest decline in the S&P 500. The company's third-quarter sales fell short of analyst's estimates and advertising sagged at its ESPN sports unit.