Nov. 14 - Summary of business headlines: Wall Street tumbles as investors worry about a prolonged fiscal cliff battle and as violence erupts in the Middle East; Federal Reserve says quantitative easing working, but prepared to do more next year; Facebook, Abercrombie & Fitch shares buck market downturn. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street had its biggest fall in a week due in President Obama, who remains firm on plans to raise taxes for the wealthy. Violence in the Middle East added to market jitters - sending stocks down more than 1 percent. In his first question and answer period with the press since winning the election, President Obama said letting tax cuts for the wealthy expire is part of his plan and just curbing tax breaks is not enough to pay down the debt, setting the stage for tough negotiations in preventing the fiscal cliff. SOUNDBITE: U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It really is arithmetic. It's not calculus. There are some tough things that have to be done. But there is a way of doing this that does not hurt middle class families, that does not hurt our seniors, doesn't hurt families with disabled kids, allows us to continue to invest in things that allow us to grow like basic research and education." He also warned the combination of mandatory spending cuts and tax hikes will hurt all parts of the economy and send the U.S. back into recession, as he prepared to discuss the issue with business leaders. The Federal Reserve is still worried about the economy. So much so, that a number of policymakers debated whether the Fed will have to buy even more debt next year when a current asset buying program ends. Minutes from the Fed's October meeting also reveal the group believes it's third round of quantitative easing, referred to as QE3, is helping to soothe the economy's ills. But new data may bring new concerns. Retail sales fell in October, the first monthly decline in three months. There were a number of stand-out stocks in an otherwise terrible market. Facebook shares jumped 12.6 percent as a lock on insider selling expired without much insider selling. And teen retailer Abercrombie and Fitch surged over 34 percent thanks to better-than-expected quarterly results and a stronger full-year outlook. In Europe, rubber bullets were fired on protesters in Barcelona in the latest anti-austerity demonstration. Stocks were down across the board.