Stock futures trade lower on China tensions ahead of holiday weekend

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U.S. equity futures are pointing to a lower open for the final trading day of the week heading into a holiday weekend.

The major futures indexes are indicating a loss of 0.4 percent when Wall Street begins trading.

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Equities are limping into the Memorial Day weekend following economic data showing that another 2.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits due to the coronavirus.

Also making traders nervous are tensions flaring between the U.S. and China.

China is holding off on setting a growth target as it tries to revive its economy battered by the coronavirus.

China will instead put its focus on fighting the disease. A top Chinese economic official on Friday promised higher spending to boost the economy and curb surging job losses.

Hong Kong’s benchmark led regional losses, dropping 5.6 percent after the central government in Beijing said China’s ceremonial parliament will consider a bill that could limit opposition activity in the former British colony.

China’s Shanghai’s Composite fell 1.9 percent and Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.8 percent.

In Europe, London’s FTSE fell 0.9 percent, Germany’s DAX declined 0.3 percent and France’s CAC was off 0.1 percent.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 24465.16 -8.96 -0.04%
SP500 S&P 500 2955.45 +6.94 +0.24%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 9324.587279 +39.71 +0.43%

In Thursday’s session on Wall Street, the S&P 500 gave up 0.8 percent, after the White House attacked Beijing’s economic policies and human rights violations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq composite lost 1 percent.

Oil prices fell back on Friday, with benchmark U.S. crude losing $2.06 to $31.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It closed higher on Thursday, the sixth day day in a row, gaining 43 cents, or 1.3%, to $33.92 a barrel.

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July Brent crude oil, the international standard, declined $1.72 to $34.34 per barrel. It gained 31 cents, or 0.9%, to close at $36.06 a barrel in London.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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