Markets set for a lower open as traders monitor coronavirus impact


Futures tilt lower

U.S. stocks looked poised to open lower on Friday as the coronavirus outbreak remained the primary focus for traders. At around 4:25 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures rose 123.5 points, or 0.42% to 29,047.5.

The S&P 500 futures were up 15.63 points, or 0.46% to 3,353.62 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gained 57.37 points, or 9,566.88.

In commodities, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $0.62, or around 1.21%, at $53.23 a barrel. Global Brent crude oil futures were at $58.52 per barrel, down $0.79 cents, or about 1.33%.

Overnight, South Korea officials reported 100 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 204. China recorded 889 new cases, taking the overall total past 75,000.

The death toll now stands at 2,236 in China, after 118 additional deaths were reported. Businesses are struggling to get up and running since much of mainland China is still on lockdown.

Dropbox surges on earnings beat, buyback

Dropbox (NASDAQ: DBX) shares are soaring after the cloud-based storage company reported upbeat fourth-quarter results.

The company said on Thursday that adjusted earnings were $0.16 per share in the quarter, while revenue was $446 million. Analysts on average had forecast adjusted earnings of $0.14 per share on revenue of $443.41 million.

The company, which went public less than two years ago, had 14.3 million paid subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter. Dropbox board members also authorized management to buy back as much as $600 million of shares.

Shares of Dropbox were up 12% to $20.96 each in premarket trading Friday.

T-Mobile and Sprint merger almost done

Meanwhile, Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) have finalized the new terms for their merger deal worth $26 billion. Under the terms of the amended agreement, T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom will get a slightly higher ownership stake in the combined company.

Deutsche Telekom will hold about 43% of the combined entity, up from the 42% under the earlier terms. SoftBank, which has a stake of more than 80% in Sprint, will hold about 24% of the combined entity, down from 27% that the Japanese conglomerate would have held.

The wireless carriers expect to close the deal as early as April 1 to create the “New T-Mobile,” according to their press release. Sprint and T-Mobile were cleared with their merger plans after a judge recently ruled against an antitrust lawsuit filed by the District of Columbia and attorneys general from 13 states.

Sprint shares were rallying 5.59% to $10.01 apiece in premarket trade Friday. T-Mobile stock was at $98.01 a share, down 1.50%.