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Market Awaiting Progress in Washington

Hot Stock Minute

Stocks are down in early trading as the market awaits any sign of progress out of Washington on day eight of the government shutdown. Later today on Capitol Hill, Majority Leader Harry Reid is meeting with Senate Democrats to discuss a clean debt ceiling bill. Reid is planning to address the media later this afternoon.

A lone Republican is stepping up with a new plan. Republican Senator Rob Portman is circulating some ideas that could appeal to both parties. Under his proposal, which is said to be in early stages, the President would get a full year of government funding, the GOP would get across-the-board spending cuts, and he wants to include a deadline for Congress to rewrite the tax code by next year.

Meanwhile, Wall Street has a warning for Washington if we breach the debt limit --Don't skip out on those social security payments! According to the Wall Street Journal, during recent meetings with the Obama administration and Republican lawmakers, our nation's top bankers warned the government not to put bond interest payments ahead of other obligations such as Social Security, saying this could drive up borrowing costs, cause market disruptions and raise investor anxiety.

Poll: Will Debt Drama Overshadow Earnings?

Alcoa (AA) reports third-quarter earnings after the market close. This will be the aluminum-maker's first quarterly report since being replaced by Nike (NKE) in the Dow Jones Industrial Average last month. Alcoa is expected to earn $0.06 a share on $5.6 billion in revenue for the third quarter.

Carl tweets again. This time it's about Talisman Energy (TLM), which is up 6% early this morning. The billionaire investor disclosed his position in a tweet, and also stated he "may have conversations with management re strategic alternatives, board seats, etc." According to a 13-D filing, Icahn's position represents a 5.97% stake in the oil and natural gas producer.

Jamba (JMBA) is feeling the consumer squeeze. Shares are down double-digits after cutting its outlook on fiscal 2013 and 2014. The company, which owns and franchises Jamba Juice stores, is blaming a slowdown in consumer spending and adverse weather conditions for taking a big bite out of same-store sales. They're now expecting flat to one-percent growth for company-owned stores this year. And they're expecting a 3.4% drop in same-store sales for the third quarter alone. Shares are down more than 12% over the last three months.

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) announced massive job cuts to accelerate its $1.4 billion turnaround plan. The French network-equipment maker planning to eliminate 10,000 jobs worldwide, roughly 15% of its workforce. The cuts will hit particularly hard in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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