Here are five things you must know for Thursday, March 22: 

1. -- Facebook's Zuckerberg Willing to Testify Before Congress

Facebook Inc. (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a televised interview that he would be willing to testify before Congress and is open to regulation in light of the social media giant's data breach scandal.

Earlier on Wednesday, March 21, Zuckerberg, after drawing criticism from investors for his silence over the Cambridge Analytica data, said in a lengthy post that the social media giant has a "responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you."

Zuckerberg's company came under fire this week following news that data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica harvested personal information from as many as 50 million Facebook users to influence elections in the U.S. and U.K.

During the CNN interview on Wednesday evening, Zuckerberg said he would be willing to testify before lawmakers if it were a scenario in which he had the most knowledge on a topic, or would be better suited than another employee.

When asked why Facebook wasn't regulated, given the high stakes related to data privacy and potential influence on politics by bad actors, Zuckerberg responded, "I'm not sure we shouldn't be regulated." He said the question should not be whether or not these companies should be regulated, but what is the right regulation.
 
Shares of  Action Alerts Plus holding Facebook closed Wednesday at $169.39, up 0.7%, following two days of sharp declines. In premarket trading on Thursday, March 22, the stock fell 2%.
 

2. -- Stocks Lower as Trump Targets China

U.S. stock futures suggested Wall Street would open sharply lower on Thursday as investors reacted to the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates and braced for the fallout from $50 billion in tariffs targeted toward China as Donald Trump vows to lower the U.S. trade deficit with the world's second-largest economy.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 192 points, while those linked to the S&P 500 declined 19.25 points.

Trump is expected to announce the new tariffs, which will largely impact consumer technology goods, as part of his broader effort to both trim China's $375 billion trade surplus and punish the nation for alleged intellectual property violations. The memorandum, which the White House has said will be called "targeting China's economic aggression" is expected to be signed by Trump at 12:30 p.m. ET in Washington.

Stocks finished lower on Wednesday, March 21, after the Fed announced it would be raising interest rates for the sixth time since late 2015 in a bid to keep inflation from rising too fast as the economy accelerates.

The U.S. central bank's monetary-policy committee raised the benchmark rate by a quarter point to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. The Fed had held the rate close to zero from 2008 through 2015 in a bid to revive the economy and markets following the financial crisis.
 
The Fed said Wednesday that the "economic outlook has strengthened in recent months," a new sentence the central bank hadn't included in previous reports. The Fed also raised its GDP forecasts for 2017 and 2018, leaving many Fed-watchers to believe the three rate hikes in 2018 forecast by the Fed may not be the minimum.

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3. -- Nike, Micron to Report Earnings

Earnings are expected Thursday from Nike Inc. (NKE) , Accenture PLC (ACN) , Conagra Brands Inc. (CAG) , KB Home (KBH)  and Micron Technology Inc. (MU) .

Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI)  posted third-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.71 a share, higher than estimates of $1.64, and raised its earnings outlook for fiscal 2018.

The U.S. economic calendar on Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, and the PMI Composite Flash for March at 9:45 a.m.

4. -- Meredith to Sell Time, Cut Jobs

Meredith Corp. (MDP) CEO Tom Harty told employees Wednesday that "fewer than 10" domestic entities and investors have reached out to the publisher about possibly acquiring Time magazine and hopes to finalize a sale within the next 60 to 120 days.

The CEO also said Meredith would consider selling Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money brands. "They have different target audiences and advertising bases, and we believe each brand is better suited for success with a new owner," Hardy said in a statement.

The media company said about 200 employees have been notified that their positions have been eliminated, and roughly 1,000 more positions will be eliminated over the next 10 months.

Meredith said the headcount reductions were part of its plan to realize between $400 million to $500 million of cost synergies following its acquisition Time Inc. in January.

5. -- Starbucks to Expand Mobile Ordering

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) said Wednesday that the coffee chain, in an effort to grow digital relationships beyond its loyal customers, would be making its mobile-ordering app available to non-Starbucks Rewards members this month.

Kevin Johnson, president and CEO, told shareholders Wednesday that Starbucks was looking to "build personalized digital relationships with customers that create new revenue opportunities."

Meanwhile, Starbucks on Thursday released its latest sugary concoction: the fortune-telling Crystal Ball Frappucino.

The sparkling candy sprinkles-festooned drink will be available for five days in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It follows similar limited-time drinks, such as the coffee chain's color-changing Unicorn Frappuccino.

Starbucks was down 0.7% in premarket trading.

This article has been updated with fresh stock market prices.

 

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