BOSTON (TheStreet) -- The continuing debate over how to extend the payroll tax cuts, which expire in nine days, leads your quick fix of company, market, economic and investing news for Thursday, Dec. 22.

Thursday's 5 Biggest Stories

No, seriously. You should believe our congressional leaders when they say they're hard at work on a

payroll tax cut deal

even though Congress has gone home for the holidays.

LA Times



is reportedly considering a sale of its Asian assets for $12 billion. But the stake is worthless if it can't actually sell it.


In a thin trading session,

financial stocks lead European bourses higher

a day after banks were given free money by the ECB. Go figure.


Stop me if you've heard this one before:

Fitch Ratings

warns that the U.S. could lose its triple-A rating if the federal deficit isn't slashed.


So now that it has settled its Countrywide problem for $335 million,

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

is in the clear, right?


Quote of the Day

"I'm for income inequality. I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality," GOP presidential hopeful

Rick Santorum

said of the fight against the Top 1%.


Company News


(TM) - Get Report

loses the top spot to

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

after a year of disasters but swears it'll regain the crown in 2012.


Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

unveils the fastest graphics chip on the market. Geeks like me are salivating.

All Things D


(MU) - Get Report

shares get crushed on a quarterly loss.



Brazil's central bank

cuts its GDP expectations

for this year to 3% from 3.5%, although the inflation outlook is improving.


Your chart of the day: The

ECB balance sheet

. Oof.

Credit Writedowns

Let's have some fun with

unexpected market events

predictions for 2012.

Stock Sage

Investment Strategy

Why the

golden cross

on the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

may not be the bullish sign technical analysts think it is.


A group of financial media personalities offer you

stock picks for 2012


Investor Place

Perhaps we should subtract the hedge from

hedge funds

after their performance in 2011.

Pragmatic Capitalism

Odds and Ends


(MSFT) - Get Report

says it decided against giving the keynote speech at the next Consumer Electronics Show in January. Others claim the tech giant was unceremoniously booted from the spot.

Slash Gear

How the GOP is helping Obama look like a

tax-cutting champion

in an election year.


There is no better holiday song than this amazing

Twisted Sister

song. Seriously.


-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston


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