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Pre-Market: US Durable Goods Send Global Stocks Higher; Facebook Acquires Oculus VR


Shares of King Entertainment, makers of the hit game "Candy Crush Saga," begin trading today.

Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Monday.

Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose  0.43% to 16,368. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.38% to 1,866.30. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, rising 0.50% to 3,642.00.

Pre-session trading was driven by durable goods, which increased 2.2% in February to $229.4 billion following two months of decline. MBA purchase applications climbed 3.0% last week but did not lift the year-on-year rate which is down 17%. The Purchasing Managers' Index services flash arrives at 9:45 a.m. The EIA petroleum status report will be released at 10:30 a.m. Round two of the Federal Reserve's annual stress test commences today, where the Fed will sign off on banks' capital-return plans.

Global markets moved higher in anticipation of the US durable goods reports, which has now added evidence that the US economy is accelerating. Asian stocks rose after US consumer confidence hit a six-year high. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) said that despite China's recent slowdown, it will keep its buy rating on Chinese stocks. In Europe, all 19 industry groups rose on the Stoxx Europe 600 index. In London, the UK Treasury raised $6.95 billion after selling off shares of Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE:LON), cutting its stake in Lloyds to less than 25% from 33%.

Meanwhile, President Obama and European Union leaders meeting at the G8 summit agreed to remove all bilateral trade tariffs, according to a draft statement acquired by Reuters. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. Today, President Obama is expected to receive pressure from the EU to loosen the United States' restrictions on natural gas exports.

In stock news, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) surprised many after announcing it had acquired virtual reality headset-maker Oculus VR. The $2 billion deal comes a month after Facebook acquired text-messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. The deal is Facebook's first foray into the hardware business, although the Oculus headset is not available to consumers yet. Shares of Facebook were up 0.17% in pre-market trading.

In China, Citic Pacific Ltd (OTCMKTS:CTPCY) plans to buy $40 billion in assets from its state-owned parent company Citic Group Corp. Citic Pacific is the second-best performer on Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) index.

Japanese automaker Toyota (NYSE:TM) announced it will buy back as much as 1.89% of its stock worth up to $3.5 billion. Half of the 60 million shares bought will be resold to fund a charitable foundation Toyota is establishing, while the remaining shares will be canceled.

Good news for Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA); an Ohio Senate committee approved a bill that banned automakers from selling directly to consumers except for a maximum of three outlets run by Tesla. This comes a week after New Jersey banned the direct sales of Tesla's Model T electric car. Shares rose 0.86% in pre-market trading.

King Digital Entertainment (NYSE:KING) will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange today after pricing its IPO at $22.50 yesterday. The makers of the hit mobile game Candy Crush Saga has seen its earnings jump 7,000% in the past year.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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