US stocks edge up as market digests protests, reopenings

About an hour into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,447.08, up 0.3 per cent. — Reuters pic
About an hour into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,447.08, up 0.3 per cent. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, June 1 — Wall Street stocks edged higher early today as markets digested a weekend of civil rights protest across the US as the country began to reopen after weeks of coronavirus shutdowns.

About an hour into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,447.08, up 0.3 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent at 3,051.69 while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent to 9,534.87.

Washington, Los Angeles and Houston were among the cities that imposed night-time curfews following a wave of demonstrations across the United States in reaction to the shocking death last week of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

The protests — some of which turned violent — come as Latinos and African Americans have suffered disproportionate rates of death and hospitalisation from the coronavirus outbreak. Unemployment also has spiked among minority populations amid the business closures sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the attention commanded by the protests, “history shows markets look through many sorts of tumultuous events and have done so for decades,” said a note from Nicholas Colas of Datatrek Research.

“History shows there is simply no correlation between social/political turmoil and US stock market returns.”

Hopes about the reopening of US states have lifted the markets significantly from March lows, although this week’s economic data is again expected to be ugly.

One report today showed the manufacturing sector stabilised but “extremely depressed,” in the words of one analyst. The calendar includes also the May jobs report and an update on conditions in the services sector. — AFP

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