Wall Street futures tumble to start final quarter of the year

Wall Street

Stocks poised to open lower

U.S. stock markets look set to start the new month with losses after September proved to be the most brutal month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since last October, while the S&P 500 logged its biggest monthly decline since March 2020.

At around 5:30 a.m. ET, futures tied to the Dow were marked 193 points, or 0.57% to 33,529. S&P 500 futures fell 21.50 points, or 0.50% to 4,276.25 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 71.25 points, or 0.49% to 14,611.25.

Stocks opened higher on Thursday but gave away those gains around midday before closing the session with sharp losses.

The Dow shed 546.80 points, or 1.59% while the S&P 500 dropped 51.92 points, or 1.19%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 63.86 points, or 0.44% to close at 14,448.58.

Zoom, Five9 scrap their $14.7 billion merger deal

Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM) and Cloud-based call center operator Five9 (NASDAQ: FIVN) have dropped the $14.7 billion merger deal they announced earlier this year.

Five9 said in a press release Thursday that the merger deal has been terminated by mutual agreement after its shareholders voted it down.

The all-stock deal, which was announced by the companies in July, would have enabled Zoom to get a slice of the lucrative contact center market. Five9 shareholders were to receive 0.5533 Zoom share for every Five9 share, as per the terms of the deal.

Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis had recently recommended Five9 shareholders vote against the merger, citing potential political risk associated with Zoom’s ties to China and a decline in Zoom’s share price.

Merck jumps after pill lowers risk of Covid-19 hospitalization/death by 50%

Shares of Merck (NYSE: MRK) rallied in the pre-market trading session on Friday after the company and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced that their experimental Covid-19 pill lowered hospitalizations and deaths by 50% in people recently infected with the coronavirus.

“At the interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%,” Merck said in a press release. “7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients (53,377).”

“Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo,” the company added.

Merck now plans to seek emergency use authorization “as soon as possible” from the FDA and other drug regulators across the globe. If approved, the treatment would be the first oral antiviral medicine for Covid-19.

As of writing, Merck stock was indicated $5.29, or 7.04% to $80.40 per share.