5 Things to Know

5 things to know before the stock market opens Friday

1. Stock futures are lower as Wall Street is set for a losing week

A view of the New York Stock Exchange Building on Wall Street.
Roy Rochlin | Getty Images

U.S. stock futures were lower Friday, one day after the S&P 500 inched out a slight gain to sever a two-session losing skid. S&P 500 and Dow futures were down about 0.4%, while Nasdaq futures dipped about 0.25%. All three major indexes enter Friday in the red for the week. The 30-stock Dow is riding a three-day losing streak and on pace for its worst week since June. The Nasdaq, which eked out a 0.1% advance Thursday, is on track for its worst week since May. Among the factors weighing on Wall Street this week are concerns about a possible Federal Reserve tapering of its asset purchases and the trajectory of the economic recovery in the face of rising Covid cases. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note stood at 1.235% Friday morning, down nearly 1 basis point.

2. Joaquin Duato to replace Alex Gorsky as J&J CEO

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Joaquin Duato will replace Alex Gorsky as chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, beginning Jan. 3, the pharmaceutical giant announced Thursday. Shares of the Dow component were slightly lower in premarket trading Friday as investors processed the news. Duato, currently vice chairman of the executive committee, also will be elevated to J&J's board. Gorsky, chairman and CEO since 2012, will transition to executive chairman. Gorsky has led the company while it faced a series of legal troubles related to its talc-based baby powder and other products, as well as the opioid crisis.

3. China approves a major data protection law

China's national flag
Russell Monk | The Image Bank | Getty Images

China's legislature on Friday approved a major data protection law, according to state media, a development that follows Beijing's tougher regulatory approach to technology companies in recent weeks. While a final version of the Personal Information Protection Law has not been released, it is said to lay out stricter rules on how companies collect and store users' personal information. The law goes to effect Nov. 1, according to Reuters, and is likely to add to the compliance rules firms operating in the country need to follow.

Investors have adopted a more skeptical attitude to Chinese companies since a government crackdown on ride-hailing giant Didi Global and other industries intensified in early July. On Thursday, star money manager Cathie Wood told CNBC she believes those recent events, particularly involving the online education industry, will "sear our memories for a long time." She added, "That could happen to any industry."

4. Tesla plans to build a humanoid robot prototype, says Elon Musk

Elon Musk is yet to show off a real Optimus robot but he has used a person in a morphsuit to hype up the machine.
Elon Musk Tesla Bot

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Thursday the electric vehicle maker plans to build a humanoid robot, dubbed the Tesla Bot, that has a goal of eliminating "dangerous, repetitive and boring tasks." Musk, who made the announcement during Tesla's AI Day, said the company will "probably have a prototype next year that looks like this," while standing nearby an on-stage human actor who wore a white, robot-like bodysuit. Musk has been known to make predictions about forthcoming Tesla products or initiatives that do not end up materializing on his initial timeline, if at all. Shares of Tesla were higher by about 0.5% in Friday's premarket trading. At its AI Day, Tesla also rolled out plans for a custom chip to be used inside its data centers.

5. NATO will try to speed up evacuations from Afghanistan, official says

A handout photo obtained from Twitter via @Bw_Einsatz on August 17, 2021 shows evacuees from Afghanistan as they arrive in an Airbus A400 transport aircraft of the German Air Force Luftwaffe in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Marc Tennessohn | via Reuters

NATO plans to intensify its efforts to evacuate people from Kabul as the Taliban tighten their grip on Afghanistan's capital city, an official told Reuters on Friday. The pledge comes as the U.S. and other Western nations face criticism for how they've handled the process of getting desperate Afghans out of the country. According to the NATO official, more than 18,000 people have flown from Kabul since the Taliban seized the capital Sunday. In the past five days, the U.S. has airlifted roughly 7,000 people out of Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Thursday. The Taliban, which swiftly captured back Afghanistan as the Biden administration followed through on its promise to pull all troops out of the nation, has in recent days used violence to quell protests across the country.

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