5 things you should know before the stock market opens on Friday 20th August

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

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

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

US stock futures were lower on Friday, the day after the S&P 500 posted a slight gain to break a two session loss. S&P 500 and Dow futures were down 0.4%, while Nasdaq futures were down 0.25%. All three main indices enter Friday in the red area for the week. The 30-strong Dow is on a three-day losing streak and is in its worst week since June. The Nasdaq, which rose 0.1% on Thursday, is on track for its worst week since May. Factors weighing on Wall Street this week include concerns about a possible tightening of its asset purchases by the US Federal Reserve and the course of the economic recovery amid rising Covid cases. The benchmark ten-year government bond yield was 1.235% on Friday morning, down nearly 1 basis point.

2. Joaquin Duato replaces Alex Gorsky as J&J CEO

Joaquin Duato, Executive Vice President and Worldwide Chairman of Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Joaquin Duato will replace Alex Gorsky as Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson effective January 3, the pharmaceutical giant announced on Thursday. The Dow component stocks were slightly lower in Friday’s pre-trading session as investors processed the news. Duato, currently Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee, will also be appointed to the J&J Board of Directors. Gorsky, who has been Chairman and CEO since 2012, will become Executive Chairman. Gorsky has run the company while it faced a number of legal issues related to its talc-based baby powder and other products, as well as the opioid crisis.

3. China passes important data protection law

China’s national flag

Russell Monk | The image database | Getty Images

China’s lawmakers passed an important data protection law on Friday, according to state media, a development following Beijing’s stricter regulatory approach towards tech companies in recent weeks. Although a final version of the Personal Data Protection Act has not yet been published, it is said to contain stricter rules on how companies collect and store personal data from users. The law goes into effect on November 1, according to Reuters, and will likely add to the compliance rules that businesses operating in the country must follow.

Investors have become more skeptical of Chinese companies since the government cracked down on ride-hailing giant Didi Global and other industries in early July. Star money manager Cathie Wood told CNBC on Thursday that she believes these recent events, particularly in the online education industry, “will stay with 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, Tesla CEO, said Thursday the electric vehicle maker plans to build a humanoid robot called the Tesla Bot that aims to eliminate “dangerous, repetitive and boring tasks.” Musk, who made the announcement during Tesla’s AI Day, said the company “will likely have a prototype that looks like this next year” while standing on stage near a human actor wearing a white, robotic bodysuit. Musk is known for making predictions about upcoming Tesla products or initiatives that, if at all, will not arrive on its original schedule. Tesla shares were about 0.5% higher in pre-trading on Friday. On its AI Day, Tesla also unveiled plans for a custom chip for use in its data centers.

5. NATO will try to expedite evacuations from Afghanistan, says an official

A handout photo received on August 17, 2021 from Twitter via @Bw_Einsatz shows evacuees from Afghanistan arriving in an Airbus A400 transport aircraft belonging to the German Air Force in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Marc Tennessohn | via Reuters

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