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China stock slide casts cloud over Black Friday

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock index futures indicated a mixed open on Black Friday ahead of a shortened trading day as Wall Street digests a slump in Chinese stocks and looks towards a big week ahead that includes two speeches by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the all-important November jobs report. (CNBC)

The Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen Composite tanked 5.5 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, after news broke that Chinese regulators had opened investigations into brokerages related to short selling and speculation. (CNBC)

European equities were also mixed as investors reacted to the sharp falls in China's stock markets and mulled the idea of more stimulus from the European Central Bank when it meets next week. (CNBC)

U.S. crude oil futures fell nearly 1 percent as disappointing Chinese data overshadowed geopolitical concern. (Reuters)

Initial reports of Thanksgiving Day sales ahead of Black Friday at bricks-and-mortar stores were good but not great, while online sales were seen as strong. (Reuters)

Thanksgiving Day sales are predicted to have hit $1.7 billion this year, according to Adobe. The software firm reported top toys included Star Wars products and Hasbro's Pie Face Game, while Apple's iPad Air 2 and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones were among the best selling tech items. (USAToday)

More shoppers may choose to buy online on Friday as ice storm warnings were in effect across a 900-mile stretch of the country from New Mexico to Iowa. Flood warnings were also issued for parts of northern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. (NBC News)

France and Russia will share information about their respective air strikes in Syria and have agreed to target only terrorist groups such as ISIS, French President Francois Hollande said Thursday after meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Russia has been criticized for allegedly bombing Western-backed rebels. (Reuters)

Russia announced on Thursday it would impose sanctions on Turkey, sever economic ties, and terminate investment projects in response to Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane near its border with Syria. (AP)

An anthrax scare that gripped Brussels on Thursday ended after the suspect powder at a large mosque near the European Commission to which authorities were alerted turned out to be flour. (Reuters)

China is seeking to modernize its armed forces by redrawing its military regions and establishing a joint operational command structure, President Xi Jinping said Thursday. The country will also establish its first overseas military outpost in Djibouti. (Reuters/NYT)

U.S. and German authorities have launched investigations into two engines designed and built by Volkswagen Group's Audi, which have been implicated in VW's emissions cheating scandal. (WSJ)

An E. coli outbreak that has affected at least 19 people who ate chicken salad from Costco has been traced to a celery-and-onion mix used in the salad. (Reuters)

A man who jumped the White House fence on Thursday is now facing criminal charges, the Secret Service said. (CNBC)

BY THE NUMBERS

There is no U.S. economic data due out today.

U.S. markets were closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and will shut earlier, at 1 p.m. ET, today.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Amazon.com is among Friday's stocks to watch on early reports of strong online Thanksgiving Day sales.

Shares of Walt Disney were lower in premarket trading on Friday after regulatory filings showed the company's sports network ESPN saw subscribers fall 3.2 percent from the previous year.

Dow Chemical's stock price was initially lower but turned positive after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it plans to withdraw approval for the company's Enlist Duo herbicide.

WATERCOOLER

Michael Jackson's Neverland estate is being marketed to super-wealthy Chinese after no U.S. buyer could be found. (CNBC)

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition to stop American Idol finalist Adam Lambert from performing at Singapore's New Year's Eve celebration due to his risque performances and "active promotion of a highly sexualized lifestyle and LGBT rights." (CNBC)