US stocks close higher again despite widespread protests

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks continued to advance on Tuesday (Jun 2), ending solidly higher as investors focused on the boost from stimulus measures and economic reopening more than the mass protests seeping through US cities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a gain of 267.63 points (1.05 per cent) at 25,742.65.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 25.09 points (0.82 per cent) to end the day 3,080.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 56.33 points (0.59 per cent) to 9,608.38.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday extended a night-time curfew for the city until Jun 7 following outbreaks of violence and looting during anti-racism protests gripping America.

Curfews were still in the nation’s capital as well, a day after police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets again demonstrators in front of the White House to clear a path for President Donald Trump to walk across a plaza and take a picture holding a bible in front of a historic church.

US President Donald Trump holds up a Bible outside of St John's Episcopal church

US President Donald Trump holds up a Bible outside of St John’s Episcopal church across Lafayette Park after federal police cleared out a peaceful demonstration. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

Once-in-a-generation protests have brought a multiracial and overwhelmingly peaceful coalition into the streets for the past week but each night has descended into mayhem, with both activists and officials blaming rabble-rousers.

While the chaos has dominated the national media, markets have reacted indifferently, focusing instead on a plethora of Federal Reserve ongoing measures that have pumped liquidity into financial markets and allowed stocks to drift higher.

“The market is very focused on what the future holds and at the same time the liquidity that is available to the market is very high because there is no shortage of stimulus,” said Nate Thooft, senior managing director at Manulife Investment Management.

“So despite all the negative macro and all the negative economic data, people are of the view that it can only get better from now.”

Among individual companies, Dicks Sporting Goods won 3.6 per cent despite reporting a US$143.4 million first-quarter loss as the retailer more than doubled its e-commerce sales.

Firearms companies jumped on expectations for higher gun sales. Data has shown strong US demand for the weapons in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Sturm, Ruger gained 4.4 per cent and American Outdoor Brands surged 9.6 per cent.

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