Stock futures fall as nation grapples with protests

Stock futures opened lower Sunday evening, dropping against a backdrop of protracted protests in some of the nation’s largest cities, many of which had already been struggling to reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The protests centered on constituents’ outrage over the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis last week in one of the latest public instances of police brutality against an unarmed black man.

Demonstrations since erupted in dozens of cities across the nation, accompanied by looting and destruction of some retail stores and other large and small businesses. The escalation of these protests led governors in two dozen states including Minnesota, California, Illinois and Washington to activate the National Guard, along with mayors in some cities to impose curfews.

A number of major companies temporarily changed operations as they assessed the violence that ensued in recent days. Target (TGT) which is headquartered in Minneapolis and has 73 stores in Minnesota, closed or adjusted hours at 200 stores this weekend. Meanwhile, tech giant Amazon (AMZN) shifted delivery routes in some cities due to the protests, and Apple (AAPL) extended store closures of some of its outlets, Bloomberg reported Sunday.

A number of other corporate executives – including BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai – also weighed in on the protests and the events that spurred them.

These developments coincided with a historic downturn in the U.S. economy, rendering tens of millions of Americans jobless as the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain it swept the country and world. Though many states and cities across the U.S. have begun to undergo a phased reopening process, many economists expect domestic data to hold at very low levels for now. The Labor Department’s May jobs report set for release later this week is expected to show the unemployment rate jump to a record high of 19.6%, the highest based on monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data spanning back to 1948

Market participants also continued to monitor tensions between the U.S. and China. President Donald Trump on Friday said his administration would take action to respond to China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, including removing Hong Kong’s preferential trade status with the U.S. and requesting a working group study Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges for potential unfair financial practices. Stocks ended Friday’s session mixed following the remarks, but held onto gains for the month of May for a second straight monthly advance.

6:04 p.m. ET Sunday: Stock futures open lower amid protests

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:04 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,017.75, down 24.25 points (-0.8%)

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 25,378.00, down 79 points (-0.31%)

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,476.00, down 84.25 points (-0.88%)

Protesters completely surround a line of police officers during nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. May 30, 2020. Picture taken May 30, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

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