Stock Futures Look To End Quarter On Positive Note. Stocks to Watch

Stock FuturesStock futures this morning are looking to extend their bullish run for the quarter. The Nasdaq alone has had its best performing quarter since 1998. Guess they can thank Apple for that one. Dow futures are up 60 points in pre-market trading to 13,138. Nasdaq 100 futures are up 13.75 points to 2,772. The S&P 500 futures are rounding out the bullish pre-market, up 7.25 to 1,405.50.

Analysts that are looking for a short-term correction may have to wait a bit longer. An equity researcher an Danske Research thinks that stocks will continue to drift higher on into the second quarter as long as conditions stay the same or see some more slight improvement.

Gains on the market have been tempered by fresh concerns over Europe. Their lack of a true resolution will continue to haunt the markets through the rest of the year. Add in Chinese concerns over a hard-landing and consistent misses on economic data coming out of the United States and you have to wonder how much longer the good times will roll. Investors seem to be counting on the Fed, who is more than willing to jump in at the first sign of trouble.

Over in Europe, finance ministers are expected to meet today to agree upon an expanded EU firewall for their sovereign debt crisis. Meanwhile, the Greek PM said that a third bailout could not be ruled out. SO look for the part 3 of that little aga sometime later this year. [Read more...]

Stocks Futures Up After Yesterday’s Sell-Off, Stocks to Watch

Stock FuturesSeems one day of selling does not create a bear market. Domestic markets are shrugging off yesterday’s sell-off thanks to Oracle’s earnings beat. Dow futures are up 32 points to 13,140. Nasdaq 100 futures are tacking on 3.75 points to 2,739. The S&P 500 futures are rounding out the gains, up 3 points to 1,403.

On the economic data front, a single report on housing is expected to be released at 8:30 am EST. February existing home sales are expected to be at an annual rate of 4.6 million, up from 4.57 million in January. This is on the heels of a report that showed a jump in building permits.

Today, Fed Chairman Bernanke will give the second of his 4 scheduled lectures at George Washington University. The topic will be on the history of the central bank.

Overnight, Asian indexes continued their slide as fears over a Chinese slowdown intensified. Japan’s major index closed in the red for the first time in six sessions.

While Europe is currently in positive territory, all eyes will be on a major budget address in Britain today. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, is expected to push for a reduction in the top tax rate from 50% to 45%. [Read more...]

Zynga Inc. Looks To Raise $925 Million In IPO

Zynga Inc. could raise $925 million, in what is one of the largest and most hotly anticipated Internet IPO’s in years. The Facebook game maker plans to sell 100 million shares, or 14.3% of the company, at $8.50 to $10 per share, according to a regulatory filing on Friday.

Zynga’s debut follows on the heels of IPO’s by Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN) and LinkedIn Coroporation (NYSE:LNKD). Based on the midpoint of Zynga’s price range, the company could raise $925 million. It had filed in July to raise up to $1 billion.

The IPO would value the 5-year-old company, which made its name on viral games such as “FarmVille,” at a range $7.7 billion to $9.04 billion, based on 904 million fully diluted shares, which catapults it to the top of the U.S. game industry. Excluding stock options and based on 699 million shares, the company values itself as high as $7.1 billion.

Rival game-makers Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) has a market value of $7.73 billion, while Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) has a market value of $14.21 billion.

Mark Pincus, a serial entrepreneur before he founded Zynga, will hold a class of shares with 70 times more voting power than the regular stock that will be sold in the offering.

Google, one of the early investors in Zynga, will be offering about 1.7 million shares, according to a regulatory filing. Other companies selling shares include Institutional Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures.

Zynga was founded in 2007 and has been riding the wave of Facebook’s growth and the popularity of lightweight social games, which are free to play. In those games, such as FarmVille and CityVille, users play for free and pay real money for virtual goods.

Zynga reported net income of $12.5 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, down 54% from $27 million a year ago, according to an updated S1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Revenue was $307 million in the quarter, up 80% from $170.6 million a year ago. In the second quarter, Zynga reported only $1.4 million in profits on $280 million in revenue, so the third quarter report is an improvement on a quarter-to-quarter basis.

Facebook Worth $100 Billion? IPO Likely Set for Mid 2012

There are reports today of Facebook being in internal discussions over the exact timing of its filings with the SEC for its IPO, and may file before the end of the year. Reports indicate that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, hasn’t made any final decisions yet. Facebook is also looking into raising $10 billion in an IPO that would value the company at $100 billion if not more.

If you’re looking to compare this to other online juggernauts IPO’s, look at Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). In 2004, when they made their stock debut, the company was worth $27 billion. Google’s market cap today sits around $185 billion.

At a $100 billion valuation, Facebook would be worth more than a lot of big name companies including Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO).

If they file for an IPO it would be the latest of a series of companies going public in Silicon Valley. Zynga, creator of Farmville, has already filed for an IPO up to $1 billion. In November, the much hyped Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) IPO was launched, but has since dropped below its IPO price. Other stocks that jumped initially but fell include LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) and Pandora (NYSE:P).

While Facebook does not disclose financial results, sources close to the company told Reuters earlier this year the company’s revenue in the first 6 months of 2011 doubled from the previous year to $1.6 billion.

About Facebook

Founded in February 2004, Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people’s real-world social connections. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment.

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