This image was lost some time after publication.

♦ American Express may be looking for as much as $3.5 billion in government assistance as the company struggles with reduced consumer spending and rising defaults. [WSJ]
♦ Hope is fading fast at GM. Shares fell to $2.92 on Tuesday, the lowest level in 65 years, and the company does not expect "to continue as a going concern" without a rescue plan in place by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Democrats are pushing ahead with a plan to save the automaker. [NYT, Bloomberg]
♦ Who doesn't want a piece of the bailout? The line outside the Treasury Department in Washington is a long one. [NYT]

♦ Jeffrey Gendall, who runs Tontine Associates, is shutting down two of his flagship hedge funds, Tontine Partners and Tontine Capital. [NYP]
♦ Investors are threatening to vote against Barclays $7 billion financing plan, which will given a third of the company to Middle Eastern investors. [FT]
♦ Goldman Sachs' chief Lloyd Blankfein is bullish about the firm's ability to weather the storm: "Some of the biggest opportunities this firm has had came from times of stress." [DB]
♦ Blackstone Group's Steve Schwarzman is upbeat, too, and says the biggest profits for private-equity investors come during the worst economic times. [Bloomberg]
♦ Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain? He's not quite as cheery. He says the situation is looking like the Great Depression of 1929. [NYP]
♦ Venture capital valuations have tumbled 20 percent in the last year. [Bloomberg]
♦ One-third of American homeowners who sold their property in the year lost money. [Bloomberg]
George Soros, Phil Falcone, John Paulson, and Jim Simons will speak on Capitol Hill tomorrow. [FT]