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5 things to know before the stock market opens Friday

Kevin Mazur | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
  • Stocks close a rock August.
  • The unemployment rate unexpectedly rose.
  • Federal marijuana changes could be coming.

Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Tough August after all

Stock futures were higher Friday after closing out a tumultuous August. Despite a recent string of positive sessions that helped stock indexes trim their monthly losses, the S&P 500 lost 1.77%, while the Nasdaq shed 2.17% in August. The 30-stock Dow dropped 2.36% for the month. Friday saw some positives as shares of Dell Technologies and database software maker MongoDB rose 9% and 6%, respectively in extended trading after releasing stronger-than-expected earnings reports. Athletic apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica's stock added 2% after crushing Wall Street's estimates and raising its guidance. Follow live market updates.

2. Unemployment up

A help wanted sign on a storefront in Ocean City, New Jersey, US, on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. Surveys suggest that despite cooling inflation and jobs gains, Americans remain deeply skeptical of the president's handling of the post-pandemic economy. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A help wanted sign on a storefront in Ocean City, New Jersey, US, on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. Surveys suggest that despite cooling inflation and jobs gains, Americans remain deeply skeptical of the president's handling of the post-pandemic economy. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Check your calendar: It's the first Friday of the month, which investors are examining jobs data from the Department of Labor. The report said the unemployment rate rose sharply in August, as the job market appears to be in slowdown mode. Nonfarm payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 187,000 for the month, which was more than the 170,000 economists polled by Dow Jones had expected. But the unemployment rate was up significantly from July at 3.8%, which is the highest level since February 2022. Meanwhile, estimates for previous months showed sharp downward revision. The report could provide clues on what the Federal Reserve will do at its September meeting as it seeks to tame inflation and cool the hot jobs market.

3. Ozempic up next?

A pharmacist displays boxes of Ozempic, a semaglutide injection drug used for treating type 2 diabetes made by Novo Nordisk, at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S. March 29, 2023. 
George Frey | Reuters
A pharmacist displays boxes of Ozempic, a semaglutide injection drug used for treating type 2 diabetes made by Novo Nordisk, at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S. March 29, 2023. 

Ozempic could be on the list for the next round of price negotiations between manufacturers and Medicare in 2025. Medicare Part D already spent more than $2 billion on the blockbuster diabetes treatment from Novo Nordisk in 2021. That amount is close to some of the first 10 drugs chosen by the Biden administration for price negotiations this week. The negotiations are a bid to lower medicine costs. Several Wall Street analysts think Medicare's spending on Ozempic will only grow, given the strong demand for it and other treatments that can help patients shed unwanted pounds.

4. Marijuana modifications

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images
A customer displays a bag of "flower", or marijuana bud, that she purchased at an unlicensed cannabis dispensary in unincorporated Los Angeles County, just east of the Los Angeles city boundary, on December 21, 2022. 

U.S. health officials want to loosen marijuana restrictions, which could be a significant boost for an industry that regularly has to deal with federal regulations. The Department of Health and Human Services asked the Drug Enforcement Agency this week to consider easing restrictions on marijuana, which is a Schedule I drug, the highest level. Pot stocks, including Aurora CannabisCanopy Growth and Tilray Brands, rose Wednesday and Thursday on the news. Reclassifying it down to a Schedule III drug would ease tax burdens that have hindered many cultivators, processors and retailers struggling to remain profitable, and also allow for interstate commerce.

5. Exorswift

Look what she made them do. Taylor Swift announced Thursday she's releasing a concert film version of her megahit Eras Tour. The movie's opening day — Friday, Oct. 13 — was supposed to be the same as the next installment of the horror franchise film "The Exorcist," setting up the potential for another double feature phenomenon, a la "Barbenheimer." But later Thursday, distributor Universal announced it would bump the "Exorcist" movie's opening day up a week, to Friday, Oct. 6. It's hard to ignore Swift's economic power. Morgan Stanley said third-quarter real spending is expected to come in 1.9% higher — helped in part by stadium tours from Swift and Beyoncé, as well as the success of "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" — yet, warned the consumer spending might not last when those events end. (Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC).

CNBC's Pia Singh, Fred Imbert, Jeff Cox Annika Kim Constantino, Lillian Rizzo, Sarah Whitten and Alex Harring contributed to this report.

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