What to Watch Today: Stock Futures Fall as Wall Street Is Set for a Losing Week

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were lower Friday, one day after the S&P 500 eked out a 0.1% gain to sever a two-session losing skid. S&P 500 and Dow futures were each down about 0.4%, while Nasdaq futures were flat. All three indexes enter Friday in the red for the week, with the Dow and S&P on pace for their worst weeks since June and the Nasdaq set for its worst since May. (CNBC)

* Treasury yields fall amid delta variant concerns and Fed taper discussion (CNBC)

Agriculture giant Deere (DE) and retailers Foot Locker (FL) and The Buckle (BKE) highlighted Friday morning's earnings reports. All three companies topped Wall Street expectations on the top and bottom lines.

Shares of Dow component Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) were slightly lower in premarket trading after the pharmaceutical giant announced that executive committee vice chairman Joaquin Duato will replace Alex Gorsky as CEO on Jan. 3. (CNBC)

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There are no major government economic reports scheduled for Friday.

IN THE NEWS

NATO plans to intensify its efforts to evacuate people from Kabul as the Taliban tighten their grip on Afghanistan's capital, 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. (Reuters)

* Taliban suppress more dissent as economic challenges loom (Associated Press)

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 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. (CNBC)

* Cathie Wood says China crackdown will weigh on investors' memories and could happen to any industry (CNBC PRO)

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC the U.S. is working to "greatly" expand manufacturing of Covid vaccines in order to donate more doses to countries that are struggling to gain access to the lifesaving shots. In an interview Thursday on "Closing Bell," Fauci said the efforts should allow the U.S. to contribute "hundreds and hundreds of millions of doses to the low- and middle-income countries." (CNBC)

Scientists are criticizing the Biden administration's plan to make Covid booster shots widely available to Americans starting next month, suggesting recent data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not compelling enough to justify the recommendation. While some acknowledged the need for certain Americans to receive a booster shot, others said the U.S. should be focusing more on unvaccinated people at home and abroad. (CNBC)

* 'Bracing for the worst' in Florida's Covid hot zone (Associated Press)

Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage (UWMC) plans to accept bitcoin as payment for home loans, according to CEO Mat Ishbia. "That's something that we've been working on, and we're excited that hopefully, in Q3, we can actually execute on that before anyone in the country," he said on the firm's earnings call. UWM, which went public via SPAC in January, is the second-largest mortgage lender in the U.S. behind Rocket Cos. subsidiary Quicken Loans.

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. (CNBC)

* Tesla unveils chip to train A.I. models inside its data centers (CNBC)

Major League Baseball plans to end its trading cards relationship with Topps, which had been in place since 1952, and sign an agreement with sports apparel firm Fanatics, according to CNBC's Jabari Young. MLB's deal with Topps is set to expire in 2025. Topps, which also has the Bazooka candy line, had planned to go public through a reverse merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II (MUDS), but the deal was terminated by mutual agreement Friday morning. Shares of MUDS fell more than 2% in premarket trading. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Deere (DE) reported quarterly earnings of $5.32 per share, compared with a consensus estimate of $4.58, and its revenue beat forecasts. Shares of the heavy equipment maker were up 1.1% in premarket trading as Deere also raised its full-year earnings forecast on solid demand for farm equipment.

Foot Locker (FL) shares surged 6.2% in the premarket after the athletic footwear and apparel maker reported better-than-expected second-quarter results. Foot Locker earned an adjusted $2.21 per share, compared with a $1.01 consensus estimate, and comparable stores sales rose 6.9%. Analysts had expected a slight decline in comp sales.

Buckle (BKE) beat estimates by 18 cents with quarterly earnings of $1.04 per share, and revenue above estimates as the company benefited from more in-person shopping. The stock jumped 4.6% in premarket trading.

Music streaming service Spotify (SPOT) announced that its board approved a $1 billion stock buyback. Chief Financial Officer Paul Vogel said the move demonstrates the company's confidence in its business and long-term growth opportunities. Spotify added 1.1% in the premarket.

Applied Materials (AMAT) beat estimates by 13 cents with an adjusted quarterly profit of $1.90 per share and revenue also topping analyst predictions. The maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment also gave a better-than-expected outlook, but Applied Materials shares fell 1.3% in premarket trading.

Ross Stores (ROST) reported a quarterly profit of $1.39 per share, beating the 98 cent consensus estimate, and also reported better-than-expected revenue. However, the discount retailer's current-quarter and full-year earnings outlook fell short of forecasts, and the stock slid 4% in premarket action.

Lordstown Motors (RIDE) shares rose 2.1% in the premarket, recovering a small part of Thursday's 9.5% drop that had sent the stock to its lowest level since going public.

Software maker Adobe (ADBE) announced a deal to buy cloud-based video collaboration platform Frame.io for $1.275 billion in cash. The acquisition will be used to expand the capabilities of Adobe's Create Cloud software suite.

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