U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply lower open for a holiday-shortened session Friday, mirroring losses in European and Asian markets after Dubai announced the first step of restructuring some of its debt.
However, European shares were off the session's lows in mid-morning, as French and Italian banks said they had limited exposure to the emirate's woes.
Markets in Europe fell by around 3 percent Thursday, when Wall Street was closed for Thanksgiving.
Dubai, which became a trading and tourism hub and enjoyed a construction boom before the crisis, said it would ask creditors of Dubai World and Nakheel to agree a 6-month standstill on billions of dollars of debt which it is seeking to restructure.
Dubai World has $59 billion of liabilities, most of Dubai's total debt of $80 billion. Nakheel is the builder of three palm shaped islands off Dubai.
- Dubai Debt Delays Revive Fear of Financial Crisis
Some analysts said the crisis is just a blip and it is not likely to seriously impact other markets. However, investors looking to lock in profits may use it as an excuse to sell, one analyst warned.
There are no economic data to be released and no major earnings reports.
Investors will follow Black Friday sales to gauge whether U.S. consumers are ready to open their wallets again.
The traditional start of the holiday shopping season has begun with expanded hours and deep discounts on everything from toys to TVs to lure crowds of shoppers.