U.S. Stocks Climb Off Worst Levels After Initial Sell-Off On Trump Diagnosis

After falling sharply at the start of trading on Friday, stocks have regained some ground over the course of the morning. The major averages have climbed well off their worst levels of the day but remain firmly in negative territory.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, stuck in the red. The Dow is down 208.47 points or 0.8 percent at 27,608.43, the Nasdaq is down 106.86 points or 0.9 percent at 11,219.65 and the S&P 500 is down 23.94 points or 0.7 percent at 3,356.86.

The initial weakness on Wall Street came following news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump said in a post on Twitter early this morning.

The news comes just a month before Election Day and is likely to generate additional uncertainty about the outcome of the presidential election.

White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said the president and first lady were “both well at this time, and they planned to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”

Conley added that he expects Trump to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”

A report from the Labor Department showing U.S. job growth slowed by much more than anticipated September also weighed on Wall Street at the open.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 661,000 jobs in September after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.489 million jobs in August.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 850,000 jobs compared to the jump of 1.371 million jobs originally reported for the previous month.

While the disappointing data raises concerns about the economy, however, the report could also put further pressure on lawmakers to pass a new stimulus bill.

The recovery attempt by the markets may subsequently reflect optimism that Congress will ultimately pass a new coronavirus relief package.

Nonetheless, airline stocks have shown a significant move to the downside in morning trading, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index slumping by 2.1 percent.

Cruise-ship operators Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH), Carnival (CCL) and Royal Caribbean (RCL) are also seeing notable weakness amid renewed coronavirus concerns following Trump’s diagnosis.

Another steep drop by the price of crude oil is also contributing to weakness among oil stocks, while semiconductor and computer hardware stocks have also moved to the downside.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Friday, although several major markets remained closed for holidays. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.7 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has fallen by 0.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are down by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly lower over the course of the session after seeing initial strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.5 basis points at 0.692 percent.

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