By Yasin Ebrahim
Investing.com - The Dow ended higher on Monday, shrugging off civil unrest across several cities in the U.S. that threatens efforts to reopen the economy.
Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.39%, or 100 points, the S&P 500 gained 0.42%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.65%.
Investors continued to bet that efforts to lift restrictions will spark a faster economic recovery in the back half of the year, even as protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week threaten to slow reopening efforts.
Retailers including Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), and CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) were forced to shutter stores over the weekend amid damage from the protests.
With optimism over a quicker economic recovery running high, cyclical sectors like financials and real estate continued to rack up gains.
Real estate was among the biggest gainers, led by Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO), Regency Centers (NASDAQ:REG) and Kimco Realty (NYSE:KIM), with the latter up more than 7% after JPMorgan upped its price target on the stock to $13 from $11.
Elswhere, healthcare proved the exception to the gains on Wall Street, paced by a 7% decline in Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) after the pharmaceutical giant revealed disappointing data from its breast-cancer drug trial.
Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) slipped 3% after mixed clinical trial results for patients taking its Covid-19 drug remdesivir stoked uncertainty over the efficacy of the treatment.
Patients with moderate disease - those hospitalized but not in need mechanical ventilation at any time - who received the drug for five days were 65% more likely to demonstrate clinical improvement, but those taking the drug for 10 days did not report a statistically significant improvement.
On the economic front, investors embraced signs of steadying manufacturing activity as the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for May rose to a reading of 43.1 from 41.5 in April.
The ISM index will "probably improve materially in June" as factories begin to reopen and as Boeing (NYSE:BA) resumes production of the 737 MAX, but a return to pre-Covid-19 levels remains some way off, Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said in a note.
Tech some pared gains to end roughly flat as chip stocks wobbled after China reportedly ordered companies to temporarily halt imports of some U.S. farm goods. Reuters later reported that China had made orders for U.S. soybeans.
The move from Beijing comes just days after President Donald Trump on Friday refrained from imposing harsh sanctions on China. The president said the U.S. would move to end Hong Kong's special status that grants the city favorable trade terms.