5 issues to know earlier than the inventory market opens Friday

Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:

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 in Downtown Manhattan in New York City.

Roy Rochlin | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

U.S. stock futures were lower Friday morning, 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 each down about 0.4%, while Nasdaq futures dipped about 0.25%. All three of the major equity 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 the Federal Reserve tapering 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 one basis point.

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

Joaquin Duato, executive vice president and worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Joaquin Duato will replace Alex Gorsky as chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, beginning January 3, the pharmaceutical giant announced Thursday evening. Shares of the Dow component were slightly lower in premarket trading Friday as investors processed the news. Duato, who currently serves as vice chairman of the executive committee, also will be elevated to J&J’s board of directors. Gorsky has been chairman and CEO since 2012, and he will transition to an executive chairman role. 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 more strict rules on how companies collect and store personal information of their users. 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

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

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