With the housing market and auto sales showing some signs of life, pundits predict a better economy for 2012. But the ripple from a European downturn could erode the economic pace in the US.
European Central Bank loans are intended to keep banks lending and avoid a credit crunch. But the head of the European Central Bank resists providing similar help to indebted nations.
Former CEO Jon Corzine testified before Congress on the bankruptcy of investment firm MF Global. Its swift collapse in late October recalled events leading to the financial crisis of 2008.
While it's been a hard year for bank stocks, news could pick up next year – if politics in the US and Europe settle down first. For investors in bank stocks, that's a big 'if.'
Unemployment claims: A slow decline signals the US economy is doing a little better. But unemployment claims need to fall further for a robust recovery in jobs.
Growth rate for the US economy was 2.5 percent in the third quarter, the government reported. That's an improvement over the first half of 2011, when concerns escalated about a double dip recession.