) -- U.S. stock futures were posting slight gains Friday as investors balanced fears over the fiscal cliff in the U.S. with signs of a recovery in China.

European stocks were trading flat to lower while Asian shares ended Friday's trading session with losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.9% to close at 8,757.60 and the Shanghai Composite Index finished sown 0.1%.

Data released Friday revealed that factory output rose in China in October, investment growth strengthened and inflation eased.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes export and import prices for October at 8:30 a.m. EST, the initial University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading for November at 9:55 a.m., and wholesale inventories for September at 10 a.m.

U.S. stocks

on Thursday closed sharply lower as fresh worries about the eurozone and the fiscal cliff overshadowed upbeat domestic labor market and trade data.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

finished down more than 121 points, or 0.94%, at 12,811. The index, which is now up 4.96% in 2012, suffered a steep loss on Wednesday, falling more than 2% to close below 13,000 for the first time since early August, following the re-election of Barack Obama as U.S. president.


pulled off Thursday a surprise


to acquire

Kayak Software

( KYAK) for $1.8 billion in cash and stock, valuing the shares at $40 each.

Kayak shares jumped almost 27% in after-hours trading Thursday to $39.30.

Walt Disney

(DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report

, the media and entertainment giant, posted an in-line quarterly


on Thursday with net income rising 14% but came up short of analysts' estimates on the top line.


(GRPN) - Get Groupon, Inc. Report

, the online deals company, reported a surprise


for its third quarter with revenue of $568.6 million missing Wall Street's consensus view of $590.1 million.

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report

is expected to post third-quarter results before Friday's opening bell and analysts expect the retailer to post a loss of 7 cents a share on revenue of $3.27 billion. In the same period a year earlier, J.C. Penney earned 11 cents a share on revenue of $3.99 billion.

Other companies reporting quarterly results on Friday include


( CCRT),

E.W. Scripps

(SSP) - Get E. W. Scripps Company Class A Report

TheStreet Recommends


Energizer Holdings

(ENR) - Get Energizer Holdings Inc Report


Federal Signal

(FSS) - Get Federal Signal Corporation Report


Foster Wheeler



Ivanhoe Energy



MGIC Investment

(MGIC) - Get Magic Software Enterprises Ltd. Report



(NTRI) - Get Nutrisystem, Inc. Report

, and

Warner Chilcott



Carl Icahn said Thursday he has considered a hostile takeover bid for


(NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report

but was uncertain he had a chance of acquiring the company in which he holds a 10% stake, said a




(ENR) - Get Energizer Holdings Inc Report

, the battery maker, said Thursday it would cut more than 10% of its work force, or about 1,500 employees.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Joseph Woelfel

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