A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE?: In Washington, hopes faded that Republicans and Democrats would work out a budget compromise before Christmas. If they don't reach a deal before the end of the month, higher taxes and government spending cuts will kick in.
A BIG DEAL: The parent of the New York Stock Exchange announced that it plans to sell itself to IntercontinentalExchange, a lesser-known exchange operator based in Atlanta.
DYSTOPIA: Shares for book publisher Scholastic slipped after it reported lower quarterly profit and revenue. The company was hurt by fading demand for the best-selling "Hunger Games" trilogy and weaker sales of its profitable education technology.