Stock futures point to slight gains at open; Facebook up

Stock Market
© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were up marginally on Wednesday, following a sharp selloff in technology stocks in the previous session on concerns about increased regulations in the wake of Facebook’s data privacy issue.

Facebook’s shares rose 1.7 percent in premarket trading after the social network said it was giving users more control over their privacy by making data management easier and redesigning the settings menu.

The company’s shares are down nearly 18 percent since March 16, when it first acknowledged that user data had been improperly harvested by a consultancy firm, erasing nearly $ 100 billion of the company’s market value.

The sell-off in the sector has pushed technology index () down 5.17 percent for the month, on track for its worst such performance in nearly two years.

The broader markets have also suffered this month on a back-and-forth between the United States and China on tariffs and fears of rising interest rates. The main indexes are on track for their worst month since January 2016.

Comments from top officials in the U.S. and China had given a sense that both the countries would negotiate over President Donald Trump’s move to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

China is expected to soon announce a list of retaliatory tariffs on US exports, its state-run Global Times reported on Wednesday.

The Commerce Department is set to release its final estimate for fourth-quarter gross domestic product, which is expected to grow at a 2.7 percent annualized rate instead of the 2.5 percent pace reported last month. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

At 7:42 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis () were up 58 points, S&P 500 e-minis () rose 6 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis () gained 4 points.

Tesla (O:) dropped 1.5 percent after the U.S. government said it would investigate a fatal crash and vehicle fire of a Model X in California.

Blackberry’s (N:) U.S.-listed shares jumped 7 percent after the company reported a smaller quarterly loss, helped by higher margins from software and services sales. Walgreen Boots (O:) rose nearly 5 percent after the drugstore chain reported better-than-expected earnings and lifted full-year profit forecast.

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