Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Stocks fall on China, everyone loves Star Wars, a Swiss Apple Watch

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What to watch for today

Another wave of stock market declines. Hold tight, after China closed its own markets due to a short sharp selloff. London’s FTSE index fell by as much as 2.8% and other European markets were down as much as 3.6%, with oil dropping down to $32 a barrel. Unsurprisingly, US futures are lower.

A quarterly check-up for a drugstore giant. Walgreens Boots Alliance has been beating expectations on synergies and cost cuts since its merger a year ago, but analysts will be watching how Boots is dealing with supermarket competition.

Brazil reports industrial output. Production is expected to have decreased for a sixth consecutive month in November due to weak China demand, political turmoil, and a major mining accident.

Russian markets are closed. Orthodox Christmas will give Russian traders a two-day break.

While you were sleeping

A bomb attack killed at least 15 in Libya. An apparent suicide attack targeted a police training center in the western city of Zliten. Local media says hundreds of recruits were at the base; the wounded are being taken to hospitals in both Misrata and Tripoli.

“The Force Awakens” broke North American sales records. Box office receipts for the latest instalment of the Star Wars saga surpassed the $761-million record held by Avatar. The movie has broken several other global records and will open in China this weekend.

Uniqlo’s parent cut 10% off its profit forecast. Fast Retailing said it expects an operating profit of 180 billion yen ($1.5 billion) for the year ending August, after warm weather disrupted its winter sales. Uniqlo will also launch a less “weather-sensitive” spring lineup sooner than planned.

Barclays planned massive job cuts in Asia. The British bank intends to cut around 50% of its Asia-Pacific equities staff and will close most of its equities businesses in the region also, according to Bloomberg. The cuts, should they take place, would come as part of a broader cost-cutting plan for the bank.

South Korea and Japan joined the US in condemning North Korea’s bomb test. Though Japan’s Shinzo Abe also said he’s “considering measures unique to our nation.” South Korea also said it planned to resume anti-North Korean propaganda and has entered talks with the US over bringing nuclear submarines and aircraft to the peninsula.

Hyundai released a hybrid challenger to the Prius. The South Korean automaker unveiled Ioniq, a gasoline-electric hybrid that makes the company one of just a handful of rivals to challenge Toyota in the market.

Quartz obsession interlude

Mike Murphy on being put in a suit designed to make you feel like an old person. ”Ferren put me on a treadmill, asking me to walk at a slow pace. It was difficult, but I could keep it up for a while. A monitor broadcast my heart rate on a screen next to me for all to see. Then Ferren gave me the legs of a 100-year-old, slowing me down as if I were walking through waist-high mud. My heart rate spiked.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China should just let its market crash. Why prolong the agony? (paywall)

Silicon Valley’s dress code is subtly sexist. Women’s style choices are limited in the land of the hoodie.

Bring back George W. Bush. The former US president could be the best person to take down Donald Trump.

Surprising discoveries

Gasp! A young Japanese politician will take paternity leave. Kensuke Miyazaki is to be the first MP to ever do so.

There’s a $24,900 Swiss version of the Apple Watch. It has one killer app: it can tell the time.

Starfish-killing robots could save the Great Barrier Reef. The crown-of-thorns starfish is decimating the reef’s coral.

Strip clubs are hijacking the CES 2016 hashtag. The consumer electronics exhibition is situated in Las Vegas.

Thousands of people watched a live stream of a puddle. Seeing pedestrians try to get around it is, apparently, highly entertaining.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, starfish-killing robots, and other riveting puddles to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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