Dow futures fall 200 points, with Wall Street set to give back some of May’s strong gains

A view of the Fearless Girl with New York Stock Exchange in Wall Street in the backdrop amid Coronavirus Pandemic on April 5, 2020.

John Nacion | NurPhoto | Getty Images

U.S. stock futures fell on Sunday night as Wall Street was set to kick off June trading on a sour note after consecutive monthly gains.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 217 points lower, or 0.9%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 0.9% each.

Here’s what traders were monitoring heading into the new month:

  • States continue to reopen their economies after the coronavirus pandemic forced the country to shutter nonessential businesses. The reopening is now taking place amid widespread protests across the U.S. over police brutality. 
  • Traders are also grappling with rising tensions between China and the U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday the U.S. would end its special treatment towards Hong Kong.
  • The announcement came after China had approved a national security bill that would increase the mainland’s power over the city. However, Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief as Trump did not say he would pull the U.S. out of the phase one trade deal reached earlier this year.  
  • Disappointing trial results from Pfizer for a breast cancer drug dampened market sentiment. The company made the announcement Friday evening, sending its stock down more than 6% in after-hours trading. 

“Nothing that has happened since the market closed on Friday has been market positive,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. “When you think about clearly we’re beginning to take U.S.-China tensions seriously and you add on to that the massive amount of disruption going on in almost every major city in the country right now, none of that could be seen as market positive.”

“At the levels we’re at, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the market take a pause and pull back,” Hogan added.

The S&P 500 and Dow each gained at least 3% last week while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.8% to close out May. Those gains were propelled by increasing bets by traders that the global economy will successfully reopen after the coronavirus forces a shutdown of most economic activity.

Last week’s gains led the major averages to their first back-to-back monthly advances since late 2019. The Dow and S&P 500 gained 4.3% and 4.5%, respectively, for May while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 6.8%.

That advance also put the S&P 500 up 38% from its intraday low set on March 23.

“The main downside risk facing stocks is a second wave of the disease,” said Peter Berezin, chief global strategist at BCA Research, in a note to clients. “If fears of a new outbreak were to escalate, risk assets would suffer.”

Berezin added, however, he recommends a “modest overweight” portfolio allocation to stocks, noting: “Even if a vaccine does not become available later this year, increased testing should allow for a more economically palatable approach to containment strategies.”

More than 6 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally, including over 1.7 million in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. However, Novavax said last week is started Phase 1 clinical trials for its coronavirus vaccine candidate while Moderna said May 18 its early stage vaccine trial had yielded positive results.

—CNBC’s Patti Domm contributed to this report.

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Rebuilding the American economy to bring peace and prosperity to all

A cyclist passes by the New York Stock Exchange in New York, on May 26, 2020.

Wang Ying | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

It has long been evident, though not necessarily obvious to all, that the ground of America’s economy was shifting beneath our feet.

The very institutions that laid the foundation upon which the “American Dream” was built, were in decay.

Their facades may still have been bright and reasonably well-maintained, but their interior walls became discolored and their support beams rusty and fragile.

A dozen years ago, it became increasingly apparent to me that something more than half-measures and lip-service were required to re-lay that foundation to ensure prosperity for all, particularly, for the next generations to come.

Indeed, when I first thought of writing this column, I was among those recommending that the U.S. rebuild the entirety of its infrastructure to stimulate an economy ravaged by the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) and subsequent Great Recession while using that crisis to bring the U.S. economy fully into the 21st Century.

Sadly, amid the building hyper-partisanship in Washington, President Obama was only able to pass $800 billion in relief and stimulus. That was far short of the estimated $4 trillion required to do the job.

The bill that was passed barely allotted any money for rebuilding anything.

Instead, it was used to fill state and local budget gaps, extend unemployment insurance and offset a small portion of the $17 trillion in capital losses accumulated in the GFC.

Rebuilding our physical infrastructure; hardening our critical infrastructure; updating the nation’s electrical grid; modernizing federal, state and local technology and procuring productivity-enhancing tools simply has not been, and still isn’t, a true priority of the Federal government despite the obvious and increasingly pressing need.

While this was exposed, in stark relief, during the Great Financial Crisis, it was illustrated even more clearly, only a decade later, as America faced its first great plague in over 100 years.

Like the GFC, the emergence of the coronavirus and subsequent economic lockdown, made quite plain the structural reforms needed to revive the U.S.

It also exposed the deepest of racial divisions that still plague this nation.

The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade or Breonna Taylor, along with a disproportionate number of people of color killed by the coronavirus, have made, more clear and vivd than ever, the institutionalized racism that has prevented every citizen, no matter their race, creed, color or religion, from obtaining equality of opportunity, if not outcome.

Beyond that, there remains a pressing need to make America truly great for a next generation of Americans while also supporting a recovery strong enough to restore normal daily life to the citizens of today.

Consider the implications of the virus-induced recession that has toppled the domestic and global economy.

Speedy recovery not guaranteed

America’s longest expansion was stopped dead in its tracks by the Corona virus pandemic.

While the virulence of this illness is not unprecedented in human history, the Bubonic Plague and the “Spanish” flu killed more people, the sudden impact that disrupted economic life in 2020 is without parallel.

Within only a matter of weeks, 90% of the American population was told to “shelter-in-place.” By early April of 2020, some 25%-50% of the nation’s economic output was completely shut off.

In the first ten weeks of the American pandemic alone, some 41 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, many times the number of the previous peak in filings.

It has been estimated that the unemployment rate will top 30%, exceeding the highest jobless figures of the Great Depression, while the economy could contract by as much as 30-60% when all is said and done, marking the deepest economic decline on record.

Economists hope that recovery from the pandemic will be speedy, both in terms of the human and economic toll. But such optimism, while typical of Americans of all stripes, may be misplaced.

For the first time in modern history, we’ve witnessed just how deeply our most cherished institutions have fallen into disrepair.

The anti-science approach of President Trump has led to delays and mixed messages from infectious disease experts, likely exacerbating both the human and economic toll.

His divisive comments, as race riots erupted around the country, propelled us back in time, much as his economic policies are wont to do, to 1968 and to that summer of violence and discontent that scarred an entire generation of anti-establishment youths.

Economy of the next 50 years

As a consequence, the disruption and associated behavioral changes that took place as the pandemic, and subsequent violence, spread may well have long-term consequences.

That does not mean the U.S. won’t ultimately recover. And with the proper policies and incentives, the economy of the next 50 years could be, quite conceivably, far stronger than the economy of the last 50 years.

Working from home (WFH), social distancing, limited physical contact and increasing dependence on technology via telecommuting and telemedicine, may radically alter how we live and work for years, if not decades, to come.

The Federal Government and the Federal Reserve will have spent, or lent, untold trillions of dollars to support large and small businesses and replace much of the personal income lost to the rapid shutdown of the U.S. economy.

In this “whatever it takes” moment, deficits be damned as a the first few rounds of government assistance have provided as much as $6 trillion, or roughly one-third of U.S. GDP, to help right the ship of state. There is likely more, maybe even much more, yet to come.

Even that assistance, however, has been unevenly distributed, despite the government’s seemingly best efforts.

Still, at some point in the relatively near future, therapeutic medicines and, ultimately, a coronavirus vaccine, will allow us to return to some sort of normality.

Medical technology and innovation will heed the call to action and deliver solutions both to control future pandemics and measures to ensure that our work-a-day world becomes more flexible and more resilient over time.

However, the septic shock that the economy has suffered, both on the supply and demand sides of the economy, and along political and racial lines in society, has also given us pause … time to reflect on the type of world to which we want to return once this crisis has passed.

As nature abhors a vacuum, it has been fascinating also to observe that the global work stoppage has significantly reduced, or eliminated, the pollution clouds that are visible over vast areas of the world.

In China, Europe or the U.S. CO2 levels fell by 35% during the period when human travel plunged precipitously.

The Himalayas became visible from miles away, Los Angeles smog was wiped away while blue skies reappeared around the world.

It stands as testimony, and confirmation, that anthropogenic activities have greatly affected the environment and also proves that we are capable of taking steps to more quickly address climate change than previously assumed, provided we show the wisdom and the will.

Having said that, the resumption of production in China has already brought the clouds back. That will soon be true elsewhere in the world, as the global economy re-starts its engines of growth.

Clearly, this shock should prove to be a wake-up call, not just to America, but to the world, as well.

Rebuilding America with peace and prosperity

How can we re-create the relative peace and prosperity of the post-World War II period? This is the critical question that we all must address.

Can we restore and improve upon multi-national alliances, and address the political, economic and social imbalances in the United States that have been laid bare by an invisible enemy we were ill-prepared to fight, or one we have not battled with for far too long? The simple answer is yes. But, getting to yes may be far more complex.

The U.S. has many inherent strengths, but also some glaring weaknesses that have been brought to light in an extremely short period of time.

The U.S. has the most sophisticated higher education system in the world, the most vibrant valleys of innovation, a robust financial infrastructure and a resilient workforce that, historically, has overcome world wars, prior pandemics and other dislocations, only to emerge stronger in the end.

However, those institutions were hamstrung by a lack of leadership, both in the public and private sectors, the former focused on power rather than policy and the latter focused too much on profits over shared prosperity.

As in prior period of restructuring and reform, a new class of leaders and a new enlightenment among the elite will be required.

This time, however, that will likely not happen without a top-down restructuring of how America handles the challenges of the future, without looking to the past.

These challenges that include everything from the distribution of healthcare to a radical re-thinking of how it does business.

The focus needs to be on the governed and not the government … on all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

America can be re-built, and it can be as prosperous as it once was. But it will need visionary leadership that has a keen and perceptive eye on the future.

It will require reimagining a U.S. economy built for 2050 and beyond, not 1950 and before.

We must not look to the past to restore America’s greatness. The triumphs of yesteryear are relics of an age gone by. Coal, steel and smokestacks are not America’s future.

Enlightened governance, enhanced technologies, advanced infrastructure, lifelong learning and adaptability are the keys to our economy’s future success.

We desperately require a new image of an America that, while already great, can renew its domestic power, project an image of global vitality and industriousness, and re-engage with our allies, upon whom we so obviously rely, to realize the restoration of a peaceful and prosperous world that shares its riches with all and holds malice towards none.

Trump reportedly held call with Mark Zuckerberg amid controversy over protest posts

U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement to reporters about reopening churches across the United States during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, May 22, 2020.

Leah Millis | Reuters

President Donald Trump held a call with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, amid growing controversy between Trump and social media companies over free speech, Axios reported Sunday. 

It’s unclear what Trump and Zuckerberg discussed on the call, but both sides described the conversation as productive, according to Axios. 

A White House spokesperson declined to comment. Representatives from Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Trump posted messages on Facebook and Twitter this week that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and threatened to bring in the National Guard to control protests in Minneapolis, saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter slapped a warning label on the tweet about mail-in voting, as well as a public interest notice on the tweet about the Minneapolis protests for violating its rules regrading glorifying violence.

Facebook left both of Trump’s posts up on its platform. Zuckerberg told CNBC on Thursday he doesn’t think social networks should be “arbiters of truth,” arguing that people “should be able to see what politicians say.” In a post on Friday, Zuckerberg said the posts about the Minnesota protests don’t violate Facebook’s policies.

“I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open,” Zuckerberg said. 

It comes as Trump on Friday signed an executive order cracking down on “censorship” by social media sites. The move was widely viewed as a reaction to Twitter’s decision to fact-check Trump’s tweet on mail-in ballots. In response, tech industry groups slammed the executive order, saying it could result in stifling free speech, rather than protecting it like Trump intended. 

Read the full report from Axios. 

New York City the morning after it erupted in protests

I woke up Sunday morning from my apartment in Manhattan to a flood of text messages from friends and family. 

The night before, New York City had erupted in protests, following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police. 

Normally, I take long walks, runs or bike rides around New York on the weekends — to clear my mind and break from working. Even during the coronavirus pandemic. And that looked a lot different this Sunday morning. It even sounded different. It was eerily quiet, albeit the sirens here and there. It seemed as if even the birds were chirping less than normal. 

Sidewalks across the SoHo neighborhood, Union Square and Fifth Avenue were covered in broken glass. Multiple police cars had been burnt to nothing but ashes. Stores, including a Duane Reade, Urban Outfitters and Swatch, were looted. Banks were ravaged. An Equinox gym had been broken in to. Graffiti covered retailers’ logos up and down some of the glitziest shopping districts, which normally would be hosting a hotbed of tourist activity this time of year. 

The New York Police Department has since said it arrested almost 350 people Saturday evening, following protests across parts of Harlem, Brooklyn and Staten Island. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a press conference held Sunday that more than 30 officers suffered minor injuries due to clashes with demonstrators. 

Here are some photos I took around New York City on the morning of Sunday, May 31. 

Multiple cop cars were damaged near the New York University campus, around Washington Square Park. 

The windows of banks all across the city, including this TD Ameritrade near Union Square, were smashed. 

A Duane Reade drug store had been looted. 

Graffiti was spread over the entrance to the Victoria’s Secret flagship on Fifth Avenue. 

This Zara store on Fifth Avenue had been vandalized as well. 

There was hardly anything left of this mini cop car sitting on Broadway, outside of Bloomingdale’s. 

Another van had been set on fire the night before. 

This Journeys shoe store on Broadway had been looted. A police officer was inside surveying the damage when I passed by. 

This sign, with George Floyd’s name along with others’, was laying in the window of Journeys. 

What wealthy independents think of Trump, coronavirus and economy

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a protective face shield during a tour of the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant that is manufacturing ventilators, masks and other medical supplies during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Ypsilanti, Michigan, U.S., May 21, 2020.

Leah Millis | REUTERS

Independent voters, a key swing voting bloc for the 2020 presidential election, are beginning to show signs that the coronavirus and economic deterioration are weighing on their outlook.  

Millionaires who identify as political independents are closer to the outlook of wealthy Democrats than wealthy Republicans on several key issues, according to the Spring 2020 CNBC Millionaire Survey. On issues including President Trump’s response to the coronavirus and the economic outlook, independents are closer to the views of liberals than conservatives. 

A little under half of independents (46%) who responded to the Spring 2020 CNBC Millionaire Survey rate President Trump’s handling of economy as Excellent or Good, versus 86% of Republicans and 22% of Democrats. Twenty-one percent of independents rate it as “Terrible,” versus 2% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats. Those numbers put independents where they should be — right in the middle between the two parties. But the 17% of independents who rate Trump’s handling of the economy as “Poor” shows a negative lean tilting toward Democrats — 21% of Democrats rated Trump’s handling of the economy as “Poor” versus 4% of Republicans.

On the president’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, the survey funds independents even more negative, with a combined 57% rating Trump’s handling of the crisis as poor (10%) or terrible (47%), versus only 15% of Republicans and 80% of Democrats.

“This survey did find that there were times independents were more often than not looking more like Democrats,” said Tom Wynn, director of research at Spectrem Group, which conducted the Millionaire Survey for CNBC. “So much of politics is driven by the economy,” he said. But Wynn added that the survey did not find a widespread political realignment, with independents revealing their expected middle position between the two major parties on many other issues. With the recent rebound in the stock market and five months until the election, “anything can happen,” he said. 

The semi-annual survey, which polls 750 investors with $1 million or more in investable assets, was conducted in April. There was a higher response from Republicans and Democrats than independents in the Spring 2020 survey compared to previous surveys, however, Wynn said there was a statistically significant percentage of each political identification group among survey respondents. 

The economy is a key 2020 election issue

The economy is a key issue for independent voters, with the CNBC survey finding 48% citing the economy as a top issue they will vote on in 2020. But the roughly one-third of independents who already lean Democratic — an assumption based on existing national polling — can be seen in the Millionaire Survey results, as well, with 33% of independents saying the voting Trump out of office is their single-biggest motivation to vote in 2020.

“Independents are tricky … independents are important,” said Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll. He said of the roughly one-third of Americans who are independents, it is 9-10% who do not lean towards one of the two major parties, and those “true” independents tend to pay less attention to news, and react to events more slowly than partisans, but they are ultimately moveable in their voting preferences. 

Franklin said the CNBC Millionaire Survey findings indicated a slightly higher disapproval of Trump among independents, and more ambivalence over the president’s handling of the economy. However, he pointed to how long it took independents to be moved by the impeachment headlines versus partisans as a reason to caution that it is still too soon to draw any firm conclusions related to independent voter sentiment and Trump’s handling of the economy during the pandemic. “Independents are responding to events, clearly, but a little more slowly,” Franklin said.

Marquette’s recent polling of voters in the battleground state of Wisconsin shows that economic views have turned sharply negative, and independents have started to turn more negative and move more than the overall population, but voters’ evaluation of Trump’s handling of the economy have only moved a little overall. “It’s obviously an open question as to whether it will change going forward,” Franklin said.

Given the sharply partisan divide among Republicans and Democrats detailed in multiple surveys show that the majority of them have already decided on their votes, the fact that independents have moved from being pretty positive to pretty negative on the economy is a reminder of why these voters will matter in November. Franklin was hesitant to make any comparison to past election cycles, or point to any group as swinging an election, but said it is fair to note than in 2008 Independents did move much closer to Democrats as the financial crisis deepened. But he added that even Republican approval ratings for President Bush were low, and that is not the case now for Trump. 

“We always see Independents in between, but when there is a prolonged and unmistakable economic crisis, you’ll see independents move in the direction of negativity more, and thus in ’07 and ’08 they converged closer to where Democrats were,” the Marquette pollster said. “Right now, they have not had enough time to fully absorb the economic crisis and how long it will last.”

Marquette’s recent polling in its home state finds the coronavirus approval rating for Democratic Governor Tony Evers sliding more than Trump’s approval among independents. Approval of Evers’ handling of the pandemic among independents was down from 74% in March to 57% in May, while Trump’s approval rating fell from 59% to 50% among independents. 

Pollsters caution that independents are a diverse group that range in ideology from Tea Party to progressive, and that makes it more difficult to know how they may swing in Trump’s reelection bid.   

According to SurveyMonkey data, independents as a group are more liberal than Republicans and more conservative than Democrats; individually, they can be more extreme than people of either party — a group of independents could very well include Bernie Sanders supporters, Tea Partiers, Libertarians, Green Party supporters, and non-voters. As a group, they don’t “break” any one way. 

Independents always have less approval for Trump than Republicans, but more than Democrats, according to national surveys that SurveyMonkey has conducted for CNBC and others. In its May consumer confidence survey for The New York Times, it found 91% of Republicans, 41% of Independents, and 11% of Democrats saying they approve of the job Trump is doing as president. However, just 62% of independents taking the survey were registered to vote, much lower than for either of the two major parties’ voters. 

Democrats can’t win on Trump negativity alone

Change Research’s Senior Pollster, Nancy Zdunkewicz, who is also the senior pollster for CNBC’s States of Play battleground polling, said everyone has moved on the economy, and in general, independents are more likely to respond to events like Democrats, though not as pessimistic. “They tend to be more positive on the economy, but not the blind view of the economy when we look at Republican numbers,” Zdunkewicz said.

She said it is too soon for any Democrat to take for granted a shift in independent views that will carry through to November. “The Trump strategy is, ‘I can win over enough of these people by looking at the economy and so that has to more be more concerning for him now,” she said.

However, the Change Research pollster said that when talking about the economy, the meaning can shift by voter, from a focus on the president’s handling of it to broader ideas, such as the fight for higher wages or helping the middle class. She said Democrats did not win the midterm elections by running against Trump’s handling of the economy, but by focusing on issues where they saw the opportunity to lead, such as health care. Her firm’s recent polling of independents in swing states does show the economic impact of the coronavirus being a top issue for these voters, along with health-care costs. For Republicans, the two top issues are immigration and the economy; for Democrats it is health care and the economy.

The Spring 2020 CNBC Millionaire Survey finds that while the wealthy have not seen widespread economy impacts as a result of Covid-19, they have seen financial and job consequences, and have grown more cautious on the stock market and pulled back on spending. Roughly 1 in 5 say they have had to give money to an adult child (22%) or other family member (21%), while 13% of millionaires have lost a job. Another 7% said they have had to fire or furlough a worker.

The New York Times-SurveyMonkey May consumer survey found independents more likely than Republicans or Democrats to say they had lost job income or hours, were unable to do their jobs from home, and remained worried about job losses.

Zdunkewicz said true independents will only vote for Democratic candidates if the candidates lead with better alternatives. “I could have someone say they disapprove of the way Trump is handling the economy and yet give him an advantage over Biden,” she said. “I don’t think this will necessarily be a referendum  on how Trump failed to do things that would have made our economic crisis less severe, but rather, a more forward-looking conversation about who can rebuild.”

She said Trump’s record will be invoked, and the GOP prioritization of corporations, but added, “The burden is on Democrats to win over these voters and say ‘We have a better plan for small businesses and the middle class.’ … independents are more skeptical overall, but just because independents don’t think Trump has done a good job on the economy or see the economy in a bad place, that does not mean they’ve been convinced Democrats will do better,” Zdunkewicz said.

SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying NASA astronauts docks with ISS

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft docks with the International Space Station on May 30, 2020.


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The inaugural SpaceX astronaut mission successfully completed the first leg of its journey on Sunday, docking with the International Space Station.

“It’s been a real honor to be just a small part of this nine year endeavor since the last time the United States has docked with the International Space Station,” NASA astronaut Bob Behnken said, speaking from the spacecraft.

“We have to congratulate the men and women of SpaceX … their incredible efforts over the last several years to make this possible cannot go overstated,” Behnken added.

Docking was completed at 10:30 a.m. ET, while passing in orbit over the northern border of China and Mongolia. Behnken and Doug Hurley will then disembark Crew Dragon and join the three crew currently on board the International Space Station.

“Crew of Expedition 63 is honored to welcome Dragon and the Commercial Crew program aboard the International Space Station,” NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy said from inside the space station.

“You’ve completed a historic ride to the ISS and have opened a new chapter in space exploration,” NASA’s mission control at Johnson Space Center in Houston said

Elon Musk’s company launched the pair of astronauts on Saturday afternoon from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft to orbit. The two astronauts then spent just under 19 hours travelling to the space station.

The mission is known as Demo-2, as its the second and final test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft before SpaceX begins flying astronauts every few months. The capsule is the first privately designed and built spacecraft to carry astronauts to space. 

Beyond the achievement for SpaceX, the launch represents the first time NASA has launched its own astronauts since the end of the space shuttle program nearly a decade ago.

This is the third time both Behnken, 49, and Hurley 53, have been to space, as both flew on previous space shuttle missions. They will spend up to four months on board the space station before beginning their second leg of the journey, when Crew Dragon will undock and carry them back down to Earth. SpaceX plans to splash the spacecraft down in the Atlantic Ocean when it returns.

SpaceX’s competitor Boeing even congratulated the company, noting the historic moment.

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Hundreds arrested in police clashes

Los Angeles Police Department commander Cory Palka stands among several destroyed police cars as one explodes while on fire during a protest over the death of George Floyd, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Mark J. Terrill | AP

Hundreds of people were arrested as protesters and police clashed in cities across America after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked more than 100 protests, rallies and vigils over the weekend, according to NBC News. 

Mayors of major cities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia to Atlanta imposed curfews and at least 12 states as well as Washington, D.C. activated National Guard troops in an effort to keep the peace overnight, but protests in several cities descended into violence again as tensions boiled over. 

Derek Chauvin, the officer filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck, was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter. 

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the demonstrations gripping the U.S. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

NYPD arrests about 350 people, 30 cops injured 

Officers pursue protesters as they march around downtown because of death of George Floyd while in police custody, on Saturday May 30, 2020 in New York City, NY.

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

11:50 a.m. ET — The NYPD said they arrested nearly 350 people on Saturday night following protests in Harlem, Brooklyn and Staten Island. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a press conference on Sunday that more than 30 officers suffered minor injuries as a result of clashes with demonstrators.

Shea said a group of protesters turned a peaceful demonstration in Harlem violent, calling it a “hijacking” of a protest that otherwise went “overwhelmingly well.” The protesters caused damage to private and public property in Brooklyn and parts of douthern Manhattan near Union Square, Shea said.

On Saturday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’d launch an independent review of Friday night’s protests in Brooklyn. De Blasio acknowledged Sunday that there were “mistakes” as well as “things that were done right” by the police during the demonstrations.

“There will be critiques, and there will be things that need to be investigated, and there will need to be things improved, and we expect to do better today than we did yesterday, but I want to commend the restraint that we saw overall from the NYPD,” he said.

Rifles seized, police officer takes fire and dozens arrested in Twin Cities

A protester runs past burning cars and buildings on Chicago Avenue, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn.

John Minchillo | AP

11:38 a.m. ET — Police made at least 55 arrests in Minneapolis and St. Paul overnight, a large number of which were for weapons violations including rifles, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

“I want people to think about this, a large number of the arrests we made over last night were for weapons violations,” Commissioner John Harrington said.  “We took AR-15s off of people, we took guns off people.”

Police moved to stop cars driving through neighborhoods without license plates, with lights out and windows blacked out, Harrington said. Several were stolen and were full of rocks and other weapons, he said. 

One police officer took fire from a car but was not hit, according to Harrington. Two people were arrested and an AR-15 rifle was seized, he said. 

The arrest data is preliminary and another 40 or 50 people were likely arrested overnight, Harrington added. Authorities said there were no major fires overnight. 

Rep. Omar calls for ‘nationwide reforms’ beyond ‘justice for George Floyd’ 

Protesters and National Guardsmen face off on East Lake Street, Friday, May 29, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn.

John Minchillo | AP

10:55 a.m. ET — Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said on ABC’s “This Week” that the U.S. needs “nationwide reforms,” not just the arrest of a police officer, in order to deliver justice for George Floyd. 

“The unrest we are seeing in our nation isn’t just because of the life that was taken, it’s also because so many people have experienced this,” Omar told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “So many people have experienced injustices within our system.”

On Friday, Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck before he died, was taken into custody. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin was among the four officers involved in Floyd’s violent arrest.

Since then, protesters have called for the arrest of the other officers “who stood by idly watching [Floyd’s] life be taken,” Omar said. 

“We need nationwide reforms,” Omar said. “We need to really step back and say to ourselves, ‘Where do we actually go from here?’ and that can’t just be getting justice for George Floyd. It needs to be bigger than that,” she added.

Pelosi call for Trump to ‘unify our country and not to fuel the flame’

10:49 a.m. ET — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed the nationwide protests against racism and police brutality spurred by the killing of George Floyd and criticized the president’s handling of the situation.

“There’s a place for protest at a sign of a knee going into the neck of a person who’s not offering resistance or even if he were, disproportionate response from the police,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Pelosi said the president should bring dignity to the office and “unify our country and not to fuel the flame.”

“To take his bait time and time again is just a gift to him because he always wants to divert attention from what the cause of the response was rather than to describe it in his own terms,” Pelosi said.

St. Paul mayor calls for police accountability

Law enforcement officers take position during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 30, 2020. Picture taken May 30, 2020.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

10:10 a.m. ET — Melvin Carter, mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that proof of progress on police reform would be more helpful to quelling the protests in his city than additional help from the National Guard.

“The thing that I think would help us more than military support is some assurance across our country that we possess a legal and judicial system that has the capacity and the capability to hold someone accountable when something this blatant, something this disgusting, something this well-documented happens in plain view for all of us to see,” Carter said.

Carter said laws and police union contracts are among the things that need to change to hold police accountable. The mayor also said that he wanted to see the other officers involved in George Floyd’s death to be held accountable, but he did not say if he thought they should be charged with murder. 

Over 170 businesses have been damaged in the city during the demonstrations so far. Carter said that while many protestors were there to push for change after Floyd’s death, others were there to be destructive.

“There are folks in our streets who are there to burn down our black-owned barbershops, to burn down our family-owned businesses, our immigrant-owned restaurants,” Carter said. “And it is very clear to me that those people are not driven by a love for our community, and there’s no way you can argue that those actions are designed to create a better future for our community, quite the opposite.”

Atlanta mayor: Trump is ‘just making it worse’ 

A protester is detained by police officers during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Atlanta, U.S., May 30, 2020.

Shannon Stapelton | Reuters

10:05 a.m. ET —  Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms condemned President Donald Trump’s calls for the federal government to step up military action against protesters. 

“This is like Charlottesville all over again,” Bottoms told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “He speaks and he makes it worse.”

Crowds gathered outside the White House Friday and Saturday night in protest of George Floyd’s death. Trump tweeted Saturday that had the protesters breached barriers set up by the U.S. Secret Service, they would “have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons.”

Later on Saturday, Trump called for states to “get MUCH tougher” or the federal government would step in and “do what has to be done,” including “using the unlimited power of our military.”

Trump has no plans to federalize National Guard right now, White House says

National Guard members walk at the area in the aftermath of a protest after a white police officer was caught on a bystander’s video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 29, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

9:59 a.m. ET — White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told reporters that the U.S. will not federalize the National Guard amid nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd.

“We’re not going to federalize the Guard at this time,” O’Brien said. “If the governors need it, we’re there as a reserve and we’ll do whatever they need to keep control of their cities.

“We want governors to take control of their cities,” O’Brien continued. “We’d like to keep this a law enforcement matter, that’s our preference,” he added. “But if a situation gets out of control there are military that can be deployed. But we hope that doesn’t happen.”

On Saturday night, Minnesota National Guard members were firing tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators who were out past curfew. Governors have mobilized National Guard in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Washington and Tennessee among others in response to rioting. 

At least 30 businesses and buildings damaged in Nashville

5:25 a.m. ET — In Nashville, 28 protesters were arrested Saturday night after the 10 p.m. curfew, according to the Nashville Police Department.

Governor Bill Lee authorized the National Guard to mobilize in response to protests, which he said took a “violent, unlawful turn.”

Protesters damaged at least 30 businesses and buildings in the city, including the Nashville courthouse, which was set on fire. No officers were injured, according to the police department.

Target temporarily closes 175 stores nationwide

A dumpster is lit on fire infront of a Target store in Oakland California on May 30, 2020, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes.


4:36 a.m. ET — Target has temporarily closed 175 stores across the country amid ongoing protests, the company announced late Saturday.

“Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal,” the company said.

Target closed 71 stores in Minnesota, which has been gripped by demonstrations and rioting following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, after a white officer pressed a knee into his neck while taking him into custody.

At least a dozen stores are closed in California and New York. Any Target employees impacted by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours, including COVID-19 premium pay, the company said.

Employees can also work at other nearby Target locations that remain open. Some businesses have been looted and vandalized in cities across the U.S. as protests turned violent, including a Target store in Minneapolis.

Seattle police arrest at least 27 after crowds set fire to cars

Protesters riot in the streets following a peaceful rally expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.

Karen Ducey

4:15 am ET — More than 20 people were arrested in Seattle during Saturday’s protest, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said in a statement early Sunday morning. Best said that “multiple officers and civilians have been injured” but did not give further details about those injuries.

The protests in Seattle were peaceful for more than two hours before escalating, and some of the demonstrators set fire to police and private vehicles, according to the statement. Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered a curfew from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. At the time of the statement, the Seattle police and the National Guard were still working to remove people from the city’s downtown core.

More than 100 arrested, 13 police officers injured in Philadelphia

Police handle an arrested African-American male as protesters clash with police near City Hall, in Philadelphia, PA on May 30, 2020. Cities around the nation see thousands take to the streets to protest police brutality after the murder of George Floyd.

Bastiaan Slabbers | NurPhoto | Getty Images

2:35 a.m. ET — The Philadelphia Police Department said on Twitter that 13 of its officers were injured, including 7 with chemical burns to their faces, as officers made more than 100 arrests during Saturday’s protests.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney imposed a curfew last night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. That curfew is set to repeat on Sunday night. Curfew violations accounted for 52 of the arrests, while another 43 were for looting or burglary, according to the department. There was one arrest for assaulting an officer.

Los Angeles under state of emergency, National Guard activated, coronavirus testing centers closed

Firefighters battle a structure fire on Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax District during demonstrations following the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

David McNew | Getty Images

2:16 a.m. ET — California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and approved the city’s request to deploy the National Guard to help deal with escalating protests.

Coronavirus testing centers in Los Angeles are also temporarily closed as a result of the unrest. Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County supervisor, said the closing of the testing sites was a “troubling consequence of social breakdown prompted by excessive use of force resulting in the death of another unarmed African American man.”

Ben Folds uses Patreon to perform for fans amid Australian quarantine

Recording artist Ben Folds performs at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on September 10, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Ben Folds wakes up early in the morning, has breakfast and a cup of coffee and then heads to the guest room, where a mattress is flipped on its side to make space for an electric piano, microphone, laptop and a camera.

It’s 9 a.m. in Sydney, Australia, 14 time zones ahead of his home in upstate New York. From his makeshift studio in a 550-square-foot apartment, Folds starts an online songwriting tutorial for his fans on Patreon, a website that creators use to raise money for projects. On some days he offers an over-the-shoulder piano class. Or he might just answer questions, tell stories and play a few tunes. 

This has been his routine since mid-March, when the spreading coronavirus put an end to group gatherings and abruptly forced Folds to cancel the rest of his concerts for the year.

“I just don’t see how a wonderful gathering of people listening to music is going to be very attractive when you can see what a pandemic is and what it does,” said Folds, 53, in a video chat from his Sydney apartment. “The only way we could think of making it work is just to say I don’t play live music anymore, that’s not what I do.”

Folds is now hosting four live streams a week, performing a concert from his apartment and posting bonus archived footage, all for $10 a month per fan. With close to 1,400 patrons, as Patreon customers are known, Folds earns enough money from the site to cover his rent in Sydney, along with costs of his cheap new keyboard, a guitar and some other gear needed to entertain and educate his followers.

Folds says that in a month he makes about half of what he’d earn from a single gig, but it’s sufficient to keep the lights on while he writes his second book and works on his next album.

“For now all I know is, it’s my way of being useful,” said Folds, who rose to music prominence in the 1990s with his band Ben Folds Five. “It’s part of my job.”

Covid-19 has devastated wide swaths of the music industry, including the clubs, bars and arenas that have no way of generating revenue as rent payments continue to pile up. Most professional musicians generate very little income from album sales and Spotify streams, counting almost entirely on live shows and the merchandise they sell while on the road.

With social-distancing practices in place, the live music business appears dead for the rest of the year, and many artists are writing off much of 2021.  

While Patreon was never designed to be a hub for quarantined musicians, it’s turned into a refuge for Folds and many others, providing them a way to be creative for an audience and make some money in the process. 

Patreon 2019 SXSW showcase


The seven-year-old company says that the number of musicians joining the site tripled from March to April, and that the number of total patrons across all categories, including film, podcasts and comics, has just surpassed 5 million, up from 4 million in November. 

Replacing the live show

Kevin Devine, a singer-songwriter in Brooklyn, New York, is among the new musicians on the site.

“We read the tea leaves and saw touring was going to be a non-factor for perhaps as long as two years,” said Devine, who typically performs for a couple hundred to a couple thousand people in clubs and at festivals.

Devine now spends most of the day with his four-year-old daughter and then turns his attention to music, largely on Patreon. He has 476 patrons, paying between $5 and $20 a month for three different packages, with those in the top tier getting access to a monthly Instagram Live concert and a handwritten lyric sheet every year.

After Patreon’s revenue cut, which is typically 8%, and the 15% that goes to covering various business expenses, Devine says he’s taking home over $5,000 a month, more than enough to keep from starving, and comparable to what he would often make in more normal times. 

“It’s an opportunity to have some structure. There are things I have to get done on a weekly basis to fulfill my part of that,” said Devine, who performs cover songs and reimagined originals for his fans. “And it affords us the opportunity to get creative with what that looks like.”

Doomtree, a seven-member hip-hop collective out of Minneapolis, has almost three times the number of patrons as Devine, but also has many more mouths to feed. Aaron Mader (known as Lazerbeak), a member of the group and CEO of the label Doomtree Records, said the $700 a month that he’s able to send to each bandmate is really helpful when it comes time to pay rent.

In addition to exclusive content, Doomtree patrons get a t-shirt that says, “I Keep the Lights On At Doomtree Records.”

“It’s really been a light in the dark for us not only financially but also community wise,” Mader said. “It’s opened my eyes to a new model. We’re connecting with fans at a much deeper and more immediate level than even on social media.”

Meanwhile, La Luz, a female surf-rock band, is just two weeks into its new life on Patreon after canceling a tour that was scheduled to start in late April. Its page is up to 73 patrons, and the most popular $15 tier includes access to one song tutorial a month from the band, tabs and sheet music and music video commentary.

“The goal is to get some money in our account for when we’re able to get back to work and to supplement our income losses,” said singer and guitarist Shana Cleveland, who lives in Grass Valley, California, and has a part-time job as an herbalist. “It’s really encouraging to see fans come out and let us know that what we’re doing is valuable to them and that they want us to keep going.”  

Party on Slack ‘when these bands launch’

For Patreon, Folds is a different kind of artist  he’s famous.

His 2005 solo album, “Songs for Silverman,” reached No. 13 on Billboard’s 200 chart, seven years after the release of Ben Folds Five’s “Whatever and Ever Amen,” which spent 40 weeks on the chart.

He’s not the only established musician flocking to Patreon, now that bands need new ways to engage with their followers. Indie pop band Of Montreal from Athens, Georgia, recently launched a profile as did New Jersey’s Saves the Day. Both groups have been around since the 1990s. 

“We hadn’t really been acquiring bands like that before this thing happened,” said Carlos Carbrera, the company’s vice president of finance, who is also a pianist and percussionist. “It’s a party in the office, or our Slack channel, when these bands launch.”

It hasn’t all been a party in recent months. The San Francisco-based company laid off about 30 employees, or 13% of its staff, in April. Cabrera said the layoffs anticipated likely challenges in raising money, and concern that skyrocketing unemployment would lead patrons to cut back on spending. But he said the company is hiring for certain positions, where it’s focusing on growth.

Ben Folds on Zoom call with CNBC

Ari Levy | CNBC

Folds has known about Patreon for a long time. He’s friends with founder and CEO Jack Conte, who studied music at Stanford and was performing long before starting his company in 2013.

“We were friends when he was a broke ass jazz musician,” Folds said.

Folds said he started using the site a little bit in the pre-coronavirus days, sometimes putting his phone next to his piano at a live show for a segment he called “fly on the wall.” Or he’d hold “Scotch and vinyl” sessions, pulling out a bottle of whiskey after a show and chatting about record production.

His use of Patreon changed dramatically in March, as he was traveling around Australia playing in front of symphony audiences with live orchestras while also tracking the spreading pandemic. He realized that the days of playing packed houses were numbered and that getting back to the U.S. safely would also be a challenge.

“I said, this was my stand on the internet and if I never play another gig again, I will certainly have to build something up,” Folds said.

Every Saturday night, Folds performs an apartment concert for free, and halfway through he turns it into a short piano lesson for kids. 

“People need music and they need something to do and something to be inspired by and I would prefer it that people learn to play piano,” he said. “If we come out of this stuff and there’s any silver lining, let it be that someone learned something or created something they wouldn’t have done.”

Folds says he has no idea how long he’ll be in this predicament or when he’ll return to the U.S. At least one of his Australia shows has been rescheduled for February 2021. But Folds isn’t pretending to know what the world will look like eight months from now.

“I don’t have an exit strategy,” he said.

WATCH: Songwriter-producer Ryan Tedder ‘bullish’ on the future of live music

As global infections top 6 million, LA suspends testing after riots rock city

As demonstrations erupted in major U.S. cities across the nation in response to the death of unarmed black man George Floyd, peaceful protests turned ugly as demonstrators set fires, looted stores and clashed with riot police. The destruction prompted Los Angeles to suspend coronavirus testing Saturday afternoon due to safety concerns.

“We have been notified that all #COVID-19 testing centers throughout LA will be closed until further notified. A troubling consequence of social breakdown prompted by excessive use of force resulting in the death of another unarmed African American man, Mr. George Floyd,” according to a tweet by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas.

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 6.08 million
  • Global deaths: At least 369,544
  • U.S. cases: More than 1.77 million
  • U.S. deaths: At least 103,781

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The University of Michigan takes steps to bring students back on campus

University of Michigan

tiny-al | Getty Images

9:44 a.m. ET — The University of Michigan told CNBC it is taking steps to bring students back on campus this fall.

“The average student is very anxious to get out of mom and dad’s basement and come back to school,” President Mark Schlissel said.

As Jessica Dickler reports, Schlissel is “very optimistic” the school will be able to host what he called a “public-health-informed residential semester.” —Terri Cullen

Google alumni reunite to assist families with home learning

9:05 a.m. ET — Since Covid-19 hit, several ex-Google employees have digitally reunited with each other in efforts to assist families trying to school their children from home amid shelter orders.

“Many know that access to work at companies like Google begin at the youngest levels and are passionate about using their background and abilities to help others get there,” Fong said. “Also, many are now having kids so it’s also a personal interest area and they can understand the customer (parents and kids).”

One of them, Jonathan Rochelle, spent more than a decade at the company, where he led some of the company’s education efforts. The former employees and executives, which hail from Google, Youtube, Cloud and other areas of the company, are not only using their technical skills to connect parents, but they’re also fielding broader questions about what the future of education will look like. —Jennifer Elias

After recovering from Covid-19, Pure Storage CEO plots slow reopening of company offices

8:55 a.m. ET — Charlie Giancarlo, CEO of data center hardware maker Pure Storage, started the company’s earnings call on Thursday by saying he himself had contracted and recovered from the coronavirus. Analysts said they were glad he was feeling better.

In an interview with CNBC on Friday Giancarlo described his experience and said that the company will be cautious as it reopens offices to employees. He said he knows how bad the disease can be. —Jordan Novet

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: EU asks U.S. to reconsider cutting ties with WHO as India extends lockdown in ‘containment zones.’

Traders get relief after Trump news conference

Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 19, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.

JOHANNES EISELE | AFP via Getty Images

Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 17 points

U.S. to eliminate special treatment for Hong Kong

During the news conference, Trump said he would take action to eliminate special treatment towards Hong Kong. However, he did not indicate the U.S. would pull out of the phase one trade agreement reached with China earlier this year, easing trader concerns for the time being.

Chipmakers jump

Shares of semiconductor companies rose broadly following Trump’s news conference. The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) closed 2.56% higher. Micron, Nvidia and Qorvo climbed 3.10%, 4.58% and 3.94%, respectively.

What happens next?

Manufacturing and construction spending data are set for release Monday.

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