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By Carlos Guillen
After a very encouraging end to trading activity last week, this week is off to a rather concerning start with the Dow Jones Industrial Average taking a sharp fall in the first couple of minutes of trading after the leadership in Washington was not able to resolve the debt ceiling debate over the weekend, something that many thought was a done deal.
The fact that nothing has been done in Washington is very surprising and is serving to make investors nervous once again, leading to increasing volatility in equity markets today. Last week, Washington leaders were reminded by the Treasury that it will be left with $30 billion in cash to pay the government's bills, an amount that may be spent in a week or two.
So, with little in terms of economic data out today (Columbus Day) the focus remains entirely on Washington. President Barack Obama will be meeting with other House and Senate leaders to once again attempt to reach a deal, but as we have been witnessing, the odds are not looking very favorable, and this may likely continue to keep investors in the sidelines. Perhaps, a bit encouraging was a last minute word from U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly that they are close to reaching a deal, but how many times have we heard that before.
In corporate news, Netflix is up over 6 percent after The Wall Street Journal reported the company was in talks with several pay-television providers to make its online video service available on set-top cable boxes. Hopefully as earning season progresses, great earnings results from the likes of Coke, YAHOO!, Intel, Citigroup, and Johnson & Johnson will give markets the boost they so desperately need to mitigate the saga in Washington.