Here are five things you must know for Thursday, March 29:
1. -- Stocks Rise on Final Day of a Volatile Quarter
U.S. stock futures were higher Thursday, March 29, as investors crept back into risk markets on the the final trading day of a volatile quarter amid lingering questions over the fate of the tech sector and trade war rumblings between Washington and Beijing.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 70 points, while those linked to the broader S&P 500 were up 8.75 points. Futures for the Nasdaq rose 42.50 points.
The NYSE FANG+ Index, which tracks the moves of 10 of the biggest and most active tech stocks in the world, fell a further 2.4% on Wednesday, March 28, to a record low 2,382.89 and was off 14% from its peak on March 12.
The best-known stocks in the index, such as Facebook Inc. (FB - Get Report) and Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) , were rising in premarket trading on Thursday. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Get Report) rose slightly after tumbling 4.4% on Wednesday after a report said Donald Trump wanted to go after the online retailing giant with higher taxes.
Stocks in the U.S. on Wednesday finished to the downside. The Dow fell 9 points, or 0.04%, to 23,848, the S&P 500 declined 0.3%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.85%.
For Thursday, the U.S. economic calendar includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, and Personal Income and Outlays for February at 8:30 a.m.
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2. -- Renault and Nissan Reportedly in Merger Talks
Shares of Renault SA (RNLSY) hit a 10-year high on Thursday amid a report the French carmaker was considering scrapping its alliance with Japan's Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) in order to create a single automotive giant that would trade as a single stock.
Bloomberg reported that Renault, which owns 43% of Nissan as part of the complicated global alliance run by Chairman Carlos Ghosn, was pushing for the combination with Nissan that would keep headquarters in both France and Japan and maintain Ghosn at the helm. However, given the French state's 15% ownership stake, and the prospect of job losses in each of the alliance's domestic markets, the proposed tie-up faces a host of myriad challenges, Bloomberg reported.
The French government owns 15% of Renault and may be reluctant to relinquish control over its stake or have its position watered down. Both the French and Japanese governments also would have to approve a deal and may have strong opinions on where the combined company is domiciled, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
Renault shares traded in Paris at last check were rising 4.6%.
3. -- CME Group to Buy U.K.'s NEX
CME Group, which owns and operates both the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, will pay 500 pence and 0.0444 in new CME shares for each NEX Group share in a deal that values the British company, whose platform facilitates the trading of currencies and government bonds, at £3.9 billion ($5.5 billion). The price was just a 2.9% premium to NEX Group's closing price on Wednesday, although the stock has gained nearly 45% since news of the CME Group's interest was first reported on March 15.
"At a time when market participants are seeking ways to lower trading costs and manage risk more effectively, this acquisition will allow us to create significant value and efficiencies for our clients globally," said CME Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy. "As one organization, we will be able to employ the complementary strengths of each company to serve a wider client base while diversifying our combined businesses across futures, cash and OTC products and post-trade services."
NEX Group CEO Michael Spencer, one of the most well-known names in London's financial market community and a long-time industry veteran, will join the CME Group's board.
4. -- Facebook Shuts Down Use of Data Brokers
Facebook said Thursday it was shutting down a type of advertising product that allowed marketers to use data from people's lives outside of Facebook to target them on the platform, the Associated Press reported.
The information includes categories like home ownership and purchase history and is collected by some of the world's largest data brokers such as Acxiom, Epsilon and Experian.
Facebook's product marketing director Graham Mudd said in a statement that shutting down the feature over the next six months "will help improve people's privacy on Facebook."
Following the news that political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica LLC harvested the data of as many as 50 million Facebook users without proper disclosures or permissions - and now the data-scraping of call logs from Android users - a growing number of shareholders and users have sued the giant social network.
5. -- Boeing Sees Minimal Damage From WannaCry Virus
An "All hands on deck" alert about the virus was issued early in the day Wednesday by Mike VanderWel, chief engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplane production engineering. It took until late Wednesday afternoon before Boeing issued a statement dialing back the fears, the Seattle Times reported.
Boeing shares were rising 0.5% in premarket trading on Thursday.
This article has been updated with fresh stock market prices.