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Facebook Lags, Amazon Leads FANGs As Stock Futures Rise

Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and U.S. trade relations with China topped the market’s priorities in premarket trade Monday, as stock futures rose despite an uptick in tension between the U.S. and Russia over the Syrian conflict.

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Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 0.9% as Merck (MRK) muscled up nearly 3% and 3M (MMM) climbed more than 2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.6%. Nasdaq 100 futures also jumped 0.9%, as Apple (AAPL), Microsoft and three of four FANG stock tech leaders were up about 1.3% each in premarket trading.  Facebook lagged, with a 0.5% gain.

Merck Gets Trial Win; Facebook, Amazon In Focus

Merck surged 2.6% to lead the Dow in premarket trading  after the drugmaker’s Keytruda earned positive results in a phase 3 trial for treatment of lung cancer tumors. Merck shares dropped 2% Friday after negative results from a late-state trial, and are down 24% from a September low.

Illinois-based biotech AveXis (AVXS) spiked 84% in premarket trading. Swiss drug giant Novartis (NVS) announced it would pay $8.7 billion to acquire the gene therapy specialist. Novartis will pay $218 per share, a premium of almost 90% over AveXis’ closing price on Friday. Novartis shares rose 0.8% ahead of Monday’s open.

Mark Zuckerberg steps in front of Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday, with lawmakers eager to grill the social media pioneer. Questioning is likely to revolve around Facebook’s privacy practices, security and details related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.  Facebook penalized another data-analytics firm, Cubeyou, on Sunday over possible misuse of Facebook users’ data.

Facebook shares are down 19% from an early February high, posting tight weekly closes below their converged 10- and 40-week moving averages.

IBD Leaderboard name Amazon.com (AMZN) rose 1.4%. A note from UBS quoted former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe saying that the company’s relationship was profitable for the U.S. Postal Service. Analysts arranged the call with Donahue, according to MarketWatch, due to questions and “confusion around the rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C.” raised about Amazon’s contract with USPS.

Amazon shares are pulled back in a four-week consolidation, and extended above a 1,231.51 buy point.

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