U.S. stocks are poised to open an abbreviated session in the red today, with volume expected to be thin during the post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza. Along with retailers -- many of which opened their doors extra early to ensure a piece of the Black Friday pie -- and AT&T ( T ), Europe remains the focus on Wall Street, thanks to concerns about euro-zone bonds and couple of notable debt downgrades. At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is lingering about 60 points south of fair value, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is set to extend its losing streak to seven consecutive sessions.
In equities news, AT&T (T - 27.55) warned that it's facing an uphill battle regarding its planned $39-billion purchase of T-Mobile USA, after Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski called for a trial-like hearing on the merger. As such, T said it will set aside $4 billion in the fourth quarter, in order to cover the potential cost of a failed deal. Furthermore, T attempted to pull its merger application, though the FCC said it would need the agency's approval to do so. At last look, T is set to open 0.4% lower.
There are no earnings of note slated for today. Keep your browser at SchaeffersResearch.com for more news as it breaks.
The post-holiday economic calendar is bare today, when U.S. markets will shut down at 1 p.m. EST.
Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange ( CBOE ) saw 867,335 call contracts traded on Wednesday, compared to 620,200 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.72, while the 21-day moving average was 0.72.
Stocks in Asia ended lower today, as traders eyed the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her opposition to the issuance of joint euro-zone bonds, and debt downgrades for Portugal and Hungary also weighed on investor sentiment. Exporters and financial stocks were pockets of weakness, with HSBC leading the decliners in Hong Kong. By the close, the Hang Seng fell 1.4%, South Korea's Kospi lost 1%, China's Shanghai Composite gave up 0.7%, and Japan's Nikkei pulled back 0.06%.
The bears are also in control over in Europe, where Italian bond yields have jumped north of 6.5% -- their highest point since the euro's inception. Traders seem disappointed following a Thursday meeting between key euro-zone leaders, which failed to produce any clear signs of progress on the region's debt crisis. At midday, the German DAX and London's FTSE 100 have each shed 0.6%, and the French CAC 40 has given up 0.3%.
Currencies and Commodities
The greenback has extended Wednesday's climb, with the U.S. dollar up 0.5%. Likewise, crude futures have continued their retreat, with the front-month contract last seen 0.7% lower to hover near $95.46 per barrel. In the same vein, gold futures have resumed their downward spiral, with the precious metal down 1% to linger near $1,681.80 an ounce.
Unusual Put and Call Activity:
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