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Global stocks plunge on another China rout

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures and European markets were tanking this morning, after trading in Chinese stocks lasted less than a half hour overnight, before a 7 percent drop triggered a volatility circuit breaker suspension for the second time this week. (CNBC)

After the shortest session in China's 25-year stock trading history, Chinese social media exploded with complaints about the newly-introduced circuit breakers. (CNBC)

Before trading, China's central bank guided the yuan lower at the fastest pace since the currency's shock devaluation in August. The moves have intensified concerns about the economy there. (CNBC)

With the U.S. stock market already off to its worst yearly start since 2008, Wednesday's sharp slide pushed the Dow and S&P 500 below the psychologically important 17,000 and 2,000 levels. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices were falling another 3 percent this morning to 12-year lows, after Wednesday's decline of 5.5 percent. China's stock rout sparked new concerns by near-record production and massive stockpiles. (Reuters)

Gold climbed above $1,100 an ounce for the first time in nine weeks this morning, as investors sought safety amid the global stock market rout, worries over the Chinese economy, and heightened geopolitical tensions. (Reuters)

Macy's (M) is cutting its outlook after a poor holiday season, and saying it would cut more than 3,000 jobs. With the overhaul, Macy's expects to reduce expenses by about $400 million annually, starting this year. (CNBC)

J.C. Penney (JCP) reported a 3.9 percent increase in comparable store sales for the 2015 holiday shopping season, and also said it would generate positive free cash flow for fiscal 2015.

Morgan Stanley (MS) named investment banking chief Colm Kelleher as its president, putting him in line to eventually succeed Chief Executive James Gorman. That move prompted wealth management chief, Greg Fleming, to leave the company. (Reuters)

United Continental (UAL) Chief Executive Oscar Munoz underwent a heart transplant, but the airline does expect him to return to his post sometime this spring. (Reuters)

Apple (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook's compensation rose 11.5 percent to $10.3 million for 2015. Apple's sales and profits saw double-digit increases last year, but its share price fell for the first time since 2008. (Reuters)

Volkswagen reportedly assumes it'll have to buy back about 115,000 cars in the U.S. as a result of the emissions scandal at the German automaker. That would be about a fifth of the diesel vehicles affected. (CNBC)

Chipotle (CMG), under scrutiny for months over outbreaks of foodborne illness across several U.S. states, said it was served with a subpoena in a federal criminal investigation linked to norovirus cases in California last year. (Reuters)

Netflix (NFLX) said at CES that its video-streaming service has gone live in more than 130 countries, covering almost the entire globe except China, in a huge global push by CEO Reed Hastings to counter slowing growth in the U.S. (Reuters)

Disney's (DIS) "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has become the highest grossing film of all time in the U.S. and Canada, topping the $760.5 million haul of the 2009 release of "Avatar." (Reuters)

BY THE NUMBERS

As investors look for more guidance from the Federal Reserve on future interest rates and whether the central bank may have to reverse course, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans are set to deliver speeches today. Neither is a voting member of the Fed's policysetting committee for 2016.

On today's economic calendar, the Labor Department releases its weekly look at initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists looking for 275,000 new filings last week, compared to 287,000 the prior period.

Constellation Brands (STZ), Finish Line (FINL), KB Home (KBH), and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) are out with quarterly earnings this morning. Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Ruby Tuesday (RT), Container Store (TCS), and WD-40 (WDFC) release their quarterly results after today's closing bell.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Yahoo (YHOO) is planning to slash 10 percent or more of its workforce, according to Business Insider. Yahoo declined comment on the report, which said more than 1,000 people would be cut from various Yahoo businesses.

T-Mobile US (TMUS) is under scrutiny for its labor practices, accused by the Communications Workers of America of ignoring employee rights and engaging in illegal work practices. T-Mobile has denied those allegations.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) said about 320,000 customers may have had their passwords stolen, likely through malware delivered through phishing attacks. The cable operator said there's no indication its own systems were breached.

TransCanada (TRP), the company that proposed the Keystone XL oil pipeline, has filed a lawsuit over the U.S. government's rejection of the project and plans to file a second legal challenge seeking more than $15 billion in damages.

WATERCOOLER

New York joins 22 other states and the District of Columbia when it launches its medical marijuana program today, with eight dispensaries opening for business. (USA Today)

There were no jackpot-winning Powerball tickets sold in last night's monster $500 million drawing. That means the jackpot will roll over to an estimated $675 million for Saturday's drawing. (NBC News)