Stocks to start slightly higher as investors eye Dubai's debt situation, retail

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U.S. stocks are ready to retreat again Monday morning as Wall Street focuses on Dubai's debt problems and on retail, with early results from the holiday shopping season beginning to emerge.

[UPDATE: Futures turned direction and are now pointing to a higher start on Wall Street as investors were somewhat encouraged by the United Arab Emirate's central bank saying it would guarantee Dubai World's debt, and by the modest increase seen in holiday sales this season.]

While U.S. shoppers were busy shopping on Black Friday -- though keeping their purchases to highly discounted items -- U.S. markets fell sharply, managing to erase earlier gains and finish the week in the red. In a shortened session on Friday, Wall Street joined declines in world markets, reacting to fears that Dubai's largest conglomerate could default on $60 billion in debt as it asked for a stay of six weeks. Global investors feared this could be a symptom of broader financial instability elsewhere in a still fragile world economy.

More here: Before the bell: Futures slightly higher with Dubai debt woes, retail in focus

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