We hope everyone has recovered this morning from excessive dosages of l-tryptophan and starch-heavy diets yesterday. Today is Black Friday, of course — the day retailers traditionally turn a profit on their ledgers, switching from red ink to black. Massive discounts and promotions from retailers big and small mark this beginning of holiday season, helping shoppers work off their extra calories in getting a jump on holiday gift-giving season.

Stock market participants will be paying extra attention to how companies like Walmart WMT and Tiffany’s TIF perform in their fiscal fourth quarters, especially as Amazon’s AMZN online juggernaut continues relatively unabated. Can companies like Macy’s M beat back Amazon’s extensive stock and ease of delivery? That, as it has been the past several years, looks to be the dominant narrative.

Otherwise, we’ve got a shortened trading day today, and volume is expected to be light. Futures are up aheads of today’s opening bell, but we’re not seeing earnings reports from any large companies today; indeed, Q3 earnings season is effectively over but for a small handful of S&P 500 participants yet to report this quarter. However, we may be seeing a new string of gainful weeks beginning — after a strong Tuesday that brought a fresh wave of new all-time market highs, if the markets close today in the green, and there’s nothing on the horizon in coming weeks to provide headwinds toward further upside.

News of the World

That said, following German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s failed coalition between her conservative CDU party and more liberal political factions, her polling among German citizens has fallen precipitously. Merkel is attempting to reconcile parliamentary power with the rival Social Democrats party, but now a majority of Germans do not want Merkel to run for re-election.

A changing of the guard in Europe’s biggest economy — especially with a burgeoning far-right party called Alternative for Germany posing the first right-wing threat to German democracy since the Third Reich — could ripple into issues within the greater Eurozone over time.

And disturbing news from the U.K.’s DailyMail.com reports that the Saudi billionaires placed under arrest by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman three weeks ago are now being beaten and tortured as they are holed up in the Ritz Carlton-Riyadh. These billionaires include the man known as the “Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. These “interrogations” are reportedly being conducted by mercenaries from a private firm from the U.S. called Academi, the successor to notorious black-ops firm Blackwater. A spokesperson for Academi denies being in Saudi Arabia or ever having engaged in torture.

Reportedly, the Crown Prince is using these men’s incarceration — where they are reportedly hung up by their feet and beaten — to extort over $194 billion from their bank accounts and seized assets. In other news from the Crown Prince, he has more recently publicly called Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “the new Hitler of the Middle East.”

This presents a shot across the bough on another Middle Eastern front for the U.S. biggest Muslim ally in the region. Stay tuned; there may be more darkness developing here on Black Friday and beyond.

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