NOW TIME FOR THE BUSINESS NEWS...

THE US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IS MEETING WITH CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS, IN A BID TO PREVENT THE COUNTRY FROM GOING OVER THE SO-CALLED FISCAL CLIFF.

REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS HAVE JUST FOUR DAYS TO REACH AN AGREEMENT IN A BID TO PREVENT MASSIVE TAX RISES AND SPENDING CUTS.

THE COUNTRY'S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WILL RECONVENE AT AN URGENT SESSION ON SUNDAY NIGHT.

ANALYSTS SAY THERE'S LITTLE CHANCE THE PARTIES WILL RESOLVE THEIR DIFFERENCES AHEAD OF THE NEW YEAR.

BUSINESSMAN JOHN SINGLETON HAS ANNOUNCED HE'S BOUGHT A STAKE IN FAIRFAX MEDIA AND FORMED AN ALLIANCE WITH ANOTHER SHAREHOLDER, MINING MAGNATE GINA RINEHART.

MR SINGLETON HAS ISSUED A STATEMENT ABOUT THE PURCHASE, THROUGH A COMPANY CALLED GUTENBERG INVESTMENTS.

MR SINGLETON SAYS HE'S A LONGTIME FRIEND OF MS RINEHART AND THEY WILL CONSULT WITH EACH OTHER ON KEY MATTERS AFFECTING FAIRFAX.

THERE ARE REPORTS HIS STAKE IN FAIRFAX IS LESS THAN ONE PER CENT.

SHARES IN THE BAILED-OUT SPANISH BANK, BANKIA SA HAVE TAKEN ANOTHER HAMMERING ON THE COUNTRY'S STOCKMARKET.

BANKIA SHARES TRADED DOWN MORE THAN 30 PER CENT AT ONE STAGE OVERNIGHT, ON SPAIN'S BENCHMARK IBEX-35 STOCK EXCHANGE.

THE SHARES HAVE PLUMMETED SINCE NEWS EMERGED THAT BANKIA HAS A DEBT OF AROUND FIVE BILLION DOLLARS.

BANKIA IS IN LINE FOR A 23 BILLION DOLLAR BAILOUT.

WHEN THE MARKETS IN EUROPE CLOSED A COUPLE OF HOURS AGO LONDON'S FTSE ONE HUNDRED WAS DOWN... SO WAS THE DAX AND EURO STOXX...

IN THE US, TRADING COMES TO A CLOSE SHORTLY AND THE DOW JONES IS DOWN AND SO IS THE S&P 500

AND THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS WORTH ONE HUNDRED AND THREE US CENTS THIS MORNING ...... IT'LL ALSO BUY YOU 64 BRITISH PENCE AND ONE DOLLAR 26 NEW ZEALAND.