Markets react to Trump’s diagnosis | Calamatta Cuschieri

Global markets end mixed, wait on news on President Donald Trump’s recovery

US stocks ended a choppy session lower on Friday as investors reacted to news of President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump testing positive for the coronavirus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 134.09 points, 0.5 percent, to 27,682.81, with the S&P 500 index retreating 32.36 points, or 1 percent, to 3,348.44. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 251.49 points, or 2.2 percent, to end the day at 11,075.02.

European markets meanwhile closed higher, reversing earlier losses and capping another volatile week as the closing bell struck before the wave of selling overtook their peers across the Atlantic. The pan-European STOXX 600 index added 0.3 percent and the UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent. Investors held onto hopes of more US stimulus after data emerged showing September Job Growth slowing more than expected in the world’s largest economy.

Maltese markets ended lower, with the MSE Equity Total Return Index closing down 0.33 percent to €7,276.329 on very thin volumes. Only three equities traded, with Bank of Valletta Plc closing unchanged, while Trident Estates Plc dropped 3.33 percent to €1.45 and Malta International Airport Plc lost 2.54 percent to €4.60.

Trump’s recovery from COVID-19

All eyes are currently on how a potential deterioration in President Donald Trump’s health could impact asset prices in coming weeks, as the U.S. leader remains hospitalized after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Many investors are concerned that a serious decline in Trump’s health less than a month before Americans go to the polls on the 3rd of November could roil a U.S. stock market that recently notched its worst monthly performance since its selloff in March while causing turbulence in other assets.

Trump’s diagnosis has intensified the spotlight on the fiscal stimulus talks in Washington, with investors saying agreement on another aid package could act as a stabilizing force on markets in the face of election-related uncertainty.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on Friday that negotiations were continuing, but she is waiting for a response from the White House on key areas.