The markets are clawing back points as Wall Street prices in extra volatility among already intense uncertainty over elections, with President Donald Trump and Melania Trump both looking to be in a better condition after testing positive for COVID-19.
The DOW opened down over 400 points Friday, and by 10:53am EST was down 222 points.
The Dow closed Thursday at 27,816.90 and opened Friday at 27,536.39.
The S&P 500 closed Thursday at 3,380.80, and opened Friday at 3,338.94. The index was down 1% at 10am EST.
The Nasdaq closed Thursday at 11,326.51 and opened Friday at 11,082.53. By 10amEST, it was down by over 100 points.
Early Friday morning, Trump tweeted that both he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19, sparking an immediate negative response from the Dow after a Thursday reprieve that had seen Wall Street pare back some earlier losses over election uncertainty and fears of violence.
Shortly afterwards, a senior administration official told reporters that Trump was showing “mild symptoms” and would continue to work from the White House residence.
Also adding to the market’s malaise was news from the Labor Department that nonfarm jobs came in lower than expected, at 661,000, against expectations of 800,000. Only 11.4 million of the 22 million jobs lost at the start of the pandemic have been recovered, according to NBC.
The drop in the unemployment rate of 7.9% for September was also lower than the expected 8.2%.
The news that the president and first lady both have COVID is predictably playing out in the media in an “I-told-you-so” fashion, with stories largely centering around the fact that Trump has downplayed the severity of the virus.
Speculation is now rampant about what the necessary quarantine may mean for the Trump campaign, which was scheduled for a rally in Florida today.
Another issue weighing on the markets is the stalemate status of COVID stimulus money.
On Thursday, House Democrats approved a $2.2-trillion COVID relief package that has no chance of seeing the light of day as Republicans rejected it fully. Instead, Republicans are backing a $1.6-trillion proposal
"Nancy Pelosi is not being serious. If she becomes serious then we can have a discussion here. We've raised our offer, but when you lower your offer [to] $2.2 trillion, and you ask for direct payments to illegal immigrants and you ask for certain deportation forgivenesses in your offer, it's not a serious offer," House Minority Leader Kevin McEnany said at a press briefing.
Some pundits are speculating that Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis could positively impact stimulus wrangling, however.
“Initial market reactions to the news that President Trump tested positive for Covid-19 are as expected — negative,” wrote Jamie Cox, Managing Partner for Harris Financial Group, in an email to CNBC. “However, markets could have some unexpected reactions as this could break the log jam in current stimulus negotiations,” Cox wrote.
By Fred Dunkley for Safehaven.com
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