Wall Street stock futures skidded Friday, as traders returned to work, only to be greeted by another round of discouraging news from Europe.
Equity markets in the U.S. close at 1:00 p.m. EST today. Typically, day-after-Thanksgiving trading volume is puny, not only because of the half session, but because many traders take the day off.
Europe was open for business as usual yesterday, with the prime ministers of Germany, France and Italy meeting about region's debt crisis.
The communique issued after their meeting didn't exactly inspire confidence. The politicians made noises about continuing to work together, but failed to produce a concrete plan for addressing the problems.
They did say, however, that they would not pressure the European Central Bank to get more involved and dismissed the notion of a euro bond.
European indices were trading to the downside Friday morning, and bond yields throughout the region continued to head north.
The euro slipped vs. the dollar.
As has often happened in recent session, Asian stocks sank on European worries. One ray of sunshine came from Japanese exporters, which rose on a strengthening greenback. The Nikkei was one of the best performers among Asian indices, notching a loss of just 0.06%.
The dollar traded higher vs. yen early Friday.
Gold fell $6.20 an ounce, to $1,679.50, in early Comex trade.
West Texas Intermediate crude slipped $0.70 per barrel, to $95.47.
There's nothing significant on the earnings front today, nor on the econ calendar.
The major business story comes from the retail sector today, with Black Friday sales already under way.
Tracking services are monitoring tweets and Facebook posts from shoppers at major retailers, and analysts have deployed mystery shoppers at malls around the country to report on traffic, service, availability of items, pricing and other metrics.
Online sales at Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY) and on sites of brick-and-mortar retailers are also under the microscope.
Amazon was an early decliner Friday, shedding $2.49, 1.32%, to $186.50. Apple (AAPL), which has a strong presence both in retail and online sales, was also down $2.49 early Friday, but in this case, it worked out to a loss of 0.68%, to $264.50.
In non-retail company news, AT&T (T) shed $0.25 in premarket trade, 0.91%, to $27.30. The company has been battling government agencies in its attempt to acquire T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom (DT). It withdrew its plan from the FCC, saying it would focus on getting an OK from the Justice Department first.
AT&T also said it would take a $4 billion accounting charge as it sets aside money for breakup fees it would owe Deutsche Telekom, should the deal fail.
As the AT&T/T-Mobile merger seems less likely, other telecoms are benefitting. Rival Sprint Nextel (S) vaulted $0.13, 5.26%, to $2.60.
From the financial sector, Bank of America (BAC) was down a penny, 0.19%, to $5.13 in early trade. Despite a bounce of 11.6% in October as the major indices rebounded, Bank of America shares are down 61.47% year-to-date.
It's a fairly slow day for analyst actions. One move came from Macquarie, which upgraded Eldorado Gold (EGO) to Neutral from Underperform.
Eldorado shares, which have been consolidating since early September, fell $0.44, 2.63%, to $16.31 in the premarket.