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(Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks slumped in volatile trading as investors weighed the implications of President Donald Trump’s positive test for the coronavirus along with renewed efforts to forge agreement on fiscal stimulus.
The Nasdaq 100 led losses amid declines for tech companies including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.com. The megacap shares also dragged down the S&P 500 Index, even as most stocks on the gauge gained. A disappointing jobs report that showed less hiring than analysts had estimated underscored the urgency to push through an aid measure, and stocks were pushed around by conflicting signals on the prospects for reaching a compromise in Washington.
Crude oil tumbled for a second day. The yen, often seen as a haven in times of market stress, edged higher amid the increased uncertainty in the runup to the Nov. 3 presidential election. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals rose in after-hours trading after Trump’s doctor said the president was treated with its antibody cocktail.
Traders had already been bracing for turmoil ahead of the ballot and in the months afterward, and the CBOE Volatility Index, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, jumped the most in a month at one point Friday before paring most of the increase.
“Whether it’s the president’s health situation or the payrolls report, this pandemic is still very much with us,” Anastasia Amoroso, head of cross-asset thematic strategy at JPMorgan Private Bank, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “This really raises the specter of the importance for getting the fiscal stimulus done and for making sure people have access to enhanced unemployment benefits.”
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged airlines to delay job cuts, saying an aid package was on the way. She said negotiations with the White House on a new stimulus will press ahead and Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis might change the tenor of the talks by emphasizing the seriousness of the pandemic.
While Trump was said to be experiencing only mild symptoms, the president’s diagnosis adds to gloomy developments around the virus as big cities once again turn into hotspots. New York reported the most new cases since May, while London is said to be at a “tipping point” with infections continuing to rise. Thousands of job cuts this week showed how firms are still wrestling with readjustments needed to survive.
In Europe, stocks edged higher. The pound gained on news U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will intervene in the Brexit negotiations for the first time since June when he holds talks with his EU counterpart on Saturday.
Investors will also be watching this weekend for news on Trump’s health and the spread of the coronavirus.
“To the extent that government functions as normal, markets will be concerned, but not necessarily panic,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. “However, this incident highlights how Covid-19 continues to be a threat to the economy and markets.”
These are the main moves in markets:
The S&P 500 Index fell 1% as of 4 p.m. New York time.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.5%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index decreased 0.3%.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.The euro dipped 0.3% to $1.1713.The British pound advanced 0.3% to $1.2934.The Japanese yen strengthened 0.1% to 105.39 per dollar.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 0.69%.Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at -0.54%.Britain’s 10-year yield rose one basis point to 0.24%.
West Texas Intermediate crude sank 4.3% to $37.06 a barrel.Gold fell 0.2% to $1,903.17 an ounce.
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