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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- 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.

The 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. ( PCLN) pulled off Thursday a surprise deal 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), the media and entertainment giant, posted an in-line quarterly profit on Thursday with net income rising 14% but came up short of analysts' estimates on the top line.

Groupon ( GRPN), the online deals company, reported a surprise loss for its third quarter with revenue of $568.6 million missing Wall Street's consensus view of $590.1 million.

J.C. Penney ( JCP) 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 CompuCredit ( CCRT), E.W. Scripps ( SSP), Energizer Holdings ( ENR), Federal Signal ( FSS), Foster Wheeler ( FWLT), Ivanhoe Energy ( IVAN), MGIC Investment ( MGIC), NutriSystem ( NTRI), and Warner Chilcott ( WCRX).

Carl Icahn said Thursday he has considered a hostile takeover bid for Netflix ( NFLX) but was uncertain he had a chance of acquiring the company in which he holds a 10% stake, said a Reuters report.

Energizer ( ENR), 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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