U.S. stock-index futures headed south in thin trading Sunday evening following a weekend of violent protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, early last week in Minneapolis while in policy custody. The protests, spanning from Los Angeles to New York, resulted in violent clashes between civilians and law enforcement, and led some to speculate that it could complicate efforts by cities and states to recover from one of the worst public health disasters in more than century. “The indirect impact on the fragile collective psyche of businesses and consumers could be more serious,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told MarketWatch. “Just when people were starting to come out of the proverbial bunkers, the protests may be too much for them, and they will go back in,” he speculated, referencing consumers reluctance to go out shopping in the wake of the viral outbreak. “The protests are also symptomatic of just how deep the economic problems and racial tensions go in our country,” the economist said. Although the riots, fueled by deep-seeded concerns about racial injustice in America, aren’t expected to have long-term economic implications, protests did slam the stores of major retailers owned by Target Corp. , Walmart Inc. and Nike Inc. , which are still swooning from the pandemic and were caught up in looting and vandalism that ensued during the weekend protests. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 214 points, or 0.8%, at 25,171, those for the S&P 500 index were 0.8% lower at 3,017.25, while Nasdaq-100 futures were 0.8% lower at 9,483. The protests across many major cities in the U.S. center on the death of Floyd, who is black, and perished on Monday following a confrontation with police in Minneapolis in which one officer, Derek Chauvin, was captured on videos driving his knee on Floyd’s neck until the handcuffed man lost consciousness and later died. To be sure, investors will be focused on the continued reopening of states and local businesses following lockdowns intended to halt the spread of the deadly illness derived from the novel strain of coronavirus. On Friday, the Dow booked a weekly gain of 3.8%, while the S&P 500 finished 3% higher and the Nasdaq Composite Index ended the period 1.8% higher. For May, the Dow logged a 4.3% gain, the S&P 500 climbed 4.5%, while the Nasdaq marked a 6.8% return in May. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
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