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November 21, 2011 06:37 PM

Monday Evening Business Brief

Stocks tumbled today, as investors reacted to the failure of Congress to come up with deficit cuts.
The Dow fell 249 points, or 2.1 percent, to 11,547. The S&P dropped 23 points, while the Nasdaq shed 49 points.
  • The bipartisan leadership of the special congressional deficit supercommittee has officially announced that the panel has failed to reach an agreement. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling say that despite "intense deliberations," the members of the panel have been unable "to bridge the committee's significant differences."
  • A former trader says jailed financier Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme stretched back at least to the early 1970s, when his employees used historical information about stocks to create false trades that could be placed on customer statements. Pleading guilty today to criminal charges was David Kugel. He admitted to helping create fake, backdated trades for Madoff's private investment business along with two others already charged in the Madoff fraud and others.
  • A criminal investigation into mortgage swindlers who lured their victims with deceptive online ads is widening. A federal government agency is overseeing the probe, which is expanding beyond ads placed alongside Google's search results to include similar links sold by Microsoft and Yahoo.
  • Oil prices fell on fears that a weaker economy will hurt demand for crude. Benchmark crude dropped 75 cents to $96.92 in New York.

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