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Stocks slide on news of Trump's positive Covid-19 test

Posted October 2, 2020 8:46 a.m. EDT
Updated October 2, 2020 9:45 a.m. EDT

Stocks slide on news of Trump's positive Covid-19 test

— The last jobs report before the election was supposed to be the big market-moving news on Friday. But President Trump's stunning announcement that he and First Lady Melania have tested positive for Covid-19 has changed all of that.

Stocks around the globe tumbled after Trump tweeted the news, which has injected yet another whopping dose of uncertainty into the market. The Dow tumbled nearly 200 points, or 0.7%, in early trading and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were down 1.3% and 1.8% following the opening bell.

But the drop was not as bad as some had feared. Futures were pointing to a bigger decline before the market opened.

Oil prices also plummeted 5% in early trading Friday. Gold was down slightly, too, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond was relatively flat.

Investors are frantically trying to figure out what Trump's diagnosis will mean for the upcoming election and for the possibility of more economic stimulus from Washington.

The US government said Friday morning that 661,000 jobs were added in September as the economy slowly recovers from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic this spring. But that was a smaller jobs bump than economists were expecting.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.9% -- down from 8.4% in August, and also lower than Wall Street's forecast of 8.2%

Wall Street will be watching health care stocks closely Friday as the need for a coronavirus vaccine becomes even more pressing. Shares of Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Novavax and Moderna were all slightly higher in early trading.

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