Stock indexes edged higher in early trading on Wall Street Monday as investors balanced cautious optimism about the reopening of businesses shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic against worries that the civil unrest across the U.S. over police brutality could disrupt the economic recovery and widen the outbreak.
The S&P 500 was up 0.1% after wavering between small gains and losses in the first half hour of trading. Losses in health care and other sectors outweighed gains in banks and companies that rely on consumer spending. Bond yields were mostly higher. Oil prices headed lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 48 points, or 0.2%, to 25,428. The Nasdaq composite was up 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks rose 0.7%.
The stock market is coming off its second month of solid gains. Stocks have now recouped most of their losses after the initial economic fallout from the coronavirus knocked the market into a breathtaking skid in February and March, though the S&P 500 is still down 10% from its all-time high in February.
The prospects for the U.S. economy to begin recovering from the coronavirus shutdowns as more businesses across the country reopened were overshadowed by the civic unrest, where protests against police brutality and racism become violent in multiple cities. The protests spurred concerns of a new increase in coronavirus contagions.
European indexes were broadly higher. Asian markets closed higher, including a gain of more than 3% for Hong Kong’s stock market. Investors were relieved Friday after the Trump administration avoided pulling out of a truce in a tariff war with China in response to Beijing’s security law on Hong Kong.
Bond yields were broadly higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.67% from 0.64% late Friday.
Oil prices fell. Benchmark U.S. crude slid 3% to $34.42 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 1% to $37.48 a barrel.