Dow plunges more than 400 points after Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis

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US stocks tumbled Friday as President Trump catching the coronavirus and a disappointing jobs report gave investors the chills.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank as much as 433.96 points, or 1.5 percent, to 27,382.94 after Trump revealed he had tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 bug. The blue-chip index pared the losses in early trading and was off 228.17 points, or 0.8 percent, as of 9:54 a.m.

The benchmark S&P 500 dropped as much as 1.7 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged as much as 2.1 percent after the feds’ monthly jobs report showed the economy adding just 661,000 jobs in September, well below economists’ expectations for a gain of 850,000. The indices were recently down about 1 and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Trump’s stunning diagnosis added a fresh layer of uncertainty to a market already wary of a waning economic recovery from the pandemic going into the winter. It’s also likely to shake up the president’s White House race against Joe Biden with only about a month until Election Day.

“Volatility was expected this fall as the presidential election cycle kicked into full gear and we faced our first test of the possibility of a resurgence of flu cases, but markets weren’t likely pricing in the president getting infected,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

Trump’s test result could also throw a wrench into negotiations for a new stimulus bill to shore up the pandemic-battered US economy. Economists say the recovery could stall further if Congress and the White House don’t approve a new spending package.

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