Wall Street set to open lower as protests and U.S.-China trade tensions spook traders


Futures point to a negative open

U.S. stock futures were trading slightly lower on Monday as mass protests over the killing last week of unarmed African-American man George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis continued across the country.

Floyd died after a police officer pinned him down with a knee on his neck while he was handcuffed. Some cities including Minneapolis, Seattle and Atlanta, saw buildings and vehicles vandalized, looted and set on fire as the demonstrations escalated over the weekend.

By 5:40 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow indicated a loss of 17.53 points to 25,383.11. S&P 500 futures dropped 5.62 points, or 0.18% to 3,036.38 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 42 points, or 0.445 to 9,518.25.

Target, CVS forced to shut some stores after protests

Target (NYSE: TGT) over the weekend announced plans to close 175 stores and reduce hours at a few others until further notice in the wake of the protests that erupted after Floyd’s death. The retailer said it has shut six stores for an extended period.

CVS (NYSE: CVS) also said it was temporarily shuttering certain locations, including some that were destroyed during the demonstrations. The healthcare company did not disclose how many stores it shuttered, but noted that the closed locations are in more than 20 states.

China reportedly halts imports of some U.S. agricultural products

Meanwhile, China has paused imports of some American farm goods, Bloomberg News reported early Monday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

According to the report, Chinese government officials have told major state-owned agricultural companies to halt purchases of some U.S. agricultural products including soybeans and pork, as the officials look to evaluate the recent escalation in tensions between Washington and Beijing over Hong Kong.

On Friday, President Donald Trump said that he would strip Hong Kong of its special status after China approved a highly controversial security law on the semi-autonomous territory.

Beijing had agreed to buy agricultural products worth billions of dollars as part of a phase-one trade one deal between both countries.