Nov. 16 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks rise as politicians soften fiscal cliff stance; Hostess Brands aims to shut down for good; Sandy slows industrial production; Dell hurt by falling PC sales. Conway Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Wall Street snaps a four-day downturn as political leaders seem to play nice in fiscal cliff talks. The three major market gauges reversed early losses for the best one-day gains in nearly two weeks. The week, however, was a loser; the Dow and Nasdaq down 1.8 percent each. Investors remain fixated on discussions in Washington to avoid mandatory tax hikes and spending cuts. But the tone was more market-friendly thanks to an air of bi-partisanship. Say it ain't so. An American icon is in jeopardy. The beloved Twinkie is at risk after parent company Hostess Brands warned it will shut down for good. Hostess, so far, has failed to win concessions. The shutdown could mean more than 18,000 employees will be out of a job before the holidays. There are reports of Twinkie hoarding. But fears of Twinkies disappearing forever may be overblown, says Michael Davis, professor and economist at Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business. SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL DAVIS, PROFESSOR/ECONOMIST, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY COX SCHOOL OF BUSINESS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I'm pretty sure that that brand is so well known that someone is going to buy it and produce Twinkies. I can't imagine a world without Twinkies. I think we should also remember that this may not be the end of the story the bankruptcy judge still has to rule." In other news: Superstorm Sandy disrupted industrial production in October. But even without that distortion, manufacturing activity appears to be slowing. Shares of Dell were down sharply one day after earnings showed a prolonged slowdown in personal computer sales is hurting profitability. Apple shares rallied, rebounding from a 10-month low hit early in the session. Turning to Europe: The DAX closed below 7,000 for the first time since September as European stocks suffered their worst week in about 5-1/2 months.