U.S. Markets close in 54 mins

Snap stock gains after Facebook kills Snapchat competitor

Emily Bary

Facebook Inc. is axing Direct, a standalone app for Instagram direct messaging that was meant to compete with Snap Inc.'s Snapchat app. Snap shares are up more than 7% in midday trading Thursday. Facebook's Instagram will continue to create new features for Direct but no longer house the product in its own distinct app, according to TechCrunch, which reported on the app closure. An Instagram spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is "rolling back the test of the standalone Direct app." Instagram will wind down Direct in the month ahead. Facebook shares are up 0.9% in midday trading, and they've gained 43% so far this year as the S&P 500 has risen 15%.