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Stock futures sink as traders brace for wild ride

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were lower this morning, after Wall Street broke a three-session winning streak Thursday. The S&P 500 led the way to the downside, which more than wiped out Wednesday's post-Fed rate hike rally. The index was back with the Dow in the red for the year. (CNBC)

The S&P and the Dow were still higher on the week heading into today's session, which brings the prospect for greater volatility and volume on the final Friday of the year for quadruple witching expiration of stock and index options and stock and index futures. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices were lower this morning, after losing 1.6 percent Thursday and settling at their lowest levels since February 2009. Meanwhile, natural gas prices were plummeting again this morning, after dropping nearly 2 percent Thursday to their lowest levels since March 1999. (Reuters)

Gold prices were getting a bit of a bounce this morning, after suffering a 2.5 percent slide Thursday to their lowest levels since February 2010. Recent dollar strength following the Fed interest rate hike continued to pressure commodities. (Reuters)

The Bank of Japan surprised markets today by announcing plans to increase purchases of ETFs and lengthening the maturity of bonds it's purchasing. The Nikkei stock index got a pop on the news, but ended nearly 2 percent lower on the session. (CNBC)

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) CEO Sheldon Adelson said a long-term slide in the Macau gaming market is nearing a bottom and a turnaround is likely next year. Meanwhile, Adelson, a major GOP donor, said he's still undecided on which presidential candidate to support. (Reuters)

Apple (AAPL) is set to launch its Apple Pay service in China as early as next year, in partnership with a state-controlled payment firm, despite intense competition from companies like Alibaba (BABA). (Reuters)

Yahoo (YHOO) has reportedly been pushing away parties interested in buying the company. The CFO has been approached at least six times recently, and that activist investors are unhappy, the New York Post reported.

Amazon (AMZN) is in talks to lease 20 Boeing jets in a test of a possible air cargo business. The online retailer wants to build out its own cargo operation to avoid delays from delivery services. (Seattle Times)

Allstate (ALL) is testing drone flights to evaluate property insurance claims, saying unmanned aircraft could help especially in situations where physical access could be limited. (Reuters)

Procter & Gamble (PG) unit Gillette is suing Dollar Shave Club for patent infringement. The online shaving subscription service has rapidly gained market share over the past three years. (AP)

Martin Shkreli, a lightning rod for growing outrage over soaring prescription drug prices, has been released on $5 million bond, after being arrested in connection with his previous business dealings. (Reuters)

President Barack Obama is set to visit San Bernardino today to meet privately with the families of the victims. Meanwhile, a neighbor and friend of the shooters has been arrested on terror charges. (NY Times)

The House today hopes to complete passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. Lawmakers paved the way Thursday by approving a package of GOP-backed tax cuts. (USA Today)

Beijing today issued its second smog red alert of the month, triggering vehicle restrictions and school closures. A wave of pollution is due to settle over the Chinese capital Saturday to Tuesday. (AP)

BY THE NUMBERS

Crude oil companies could face more pain in the next decade, as producers may not cut contributions to an already oversupplied market, short seller Jim Chanos told CNBC. He also said he's shorting Elon Musk's SolarCity (SCTY).

Goldman Sachs (GS) sees further weakness for oil due to the worsening of already weak fundamentals after OPEC held back from cutting production at its recent meeting.

BHP Billiton's (BHP) credit rating was put on review by Moody's for a possible downgrade, in the face of severe declines in commodities that the Moody's expects to last for the next few years.

Oil services giant Baker Hughes (BHI) releases its weekly rig count report at 1 p.m. ET, looking at crude development and exploration activity.

There are no major economic numbers on the Friday schedule, but today does feature central banker commentary from Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker at 12:30 p.m. ET. Lacker has been a voting member of the policysetting committee this year, but won't be in 2016.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Lennar (LEN) reported earnings of $1.21 per share, 9 cents above estimates, while revenue was in line. The homebuilder saw both new orders and deliveries jump 10 percent, with the dollar value of those new orders up 20 percent.

BlackBerry (BBRY) lost 3 cents per share for its third quarter, smaller than the 14 cent anticipated loss. Revenue was far above estimates. The device maker noted continuing growth in its software segment, and continues expect positive free cash flow.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) agreed to sell a number of its HIV drugs at different stages to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for $350 million up front, with further payments of more than $500 million depending on the achievement of certain commercial milestones.

The CFO of Sotheby's (BID) is stepping down at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities. A long-time board member of the auction house has been chosen as the replacement. Sotheby's has been under activist pressure to boost performance.

Morgan Stanley (MS) plans to reduce up to 5 percent of its stock-trading employees in early 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal. Morgan recently cut about 25 percent of its debt traders and salespeople.

WATERCOOLER

Expect "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" mania in full force this opening weekend. But the certain blockbuster might only end up being third in terms of the biggest box offices ever. (USA Today)

Going for a loose ball, Cleveland's LeBron James crushed defending PGA champ Jason Day's wife who was sitting in first row. Ellie Day was taken out on a stretcher, but is said to be alright. (NBC Sports)