Tesla, Netflix Slammed As Stocks Fall On Weak Jobs Data, Trump Covid Case

The announcement that Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus triggered a sell-off in early morning trading around the world on Friday that tapered off by day’s end. Tech stocks, however, failed to recover, as Wall Street investors prepare for increased volatility in the weeks leading up to the election.

Key Facts

The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended the day down 251 points, or 2.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 134 points, or 0.5%, and the S&P 500 fell 1%.

Tech stocks were among Friday’s biggest losers, with Tesla and Netflix falling 7% and 5%, respectively, while Apple and Microsoft were each down 3%.

Cboe’s VIX Index, which measures volatility expectations based on options contracts, at one point jumped up more than 7%, reaching its highest point since early September, when tech stocks corrected and the Nasdaq had its fastest 10% plunge in history.

U.S. airline stocks proved a bright spot in the Friday market after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers were preparing relief for the industry through either a broad-based stimulus bill or standalone legislation.

The S&P 500 Airlines Industry Index ended the day up 2.3%.

Jobs data released before the market open revealed that U.S. employers added just 661,000 jobs in September, about 25% less than the 859,000 new jobs economists were forecasting and less than half of the nearly 1.5 million jobs the economy added back in August.

The unemployment rate of 7.9% was better than the forecast of 8.2%, but it’s still far below the 3.5% unemployment rate in February–before governments shut down businesses after a domestic spike in coronavirus cases.

Key Background

Donald Trump announced in a tweet shortly after midnight on Friday that he and First Lady Melania had tested positive for Covid-19, adding that they’d begin quarantining “immediately.” The announcement triggered an immediate sell-off in stock futures and initially rattled global equity markets, but losses have since pulled back: Japan’s Nikkei Index closed down about 0.7%, but France’s CAC 40 and the United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 managed to turn positive for the day, though their gains remained below 1%.

The Dow and S&P 500 each ended Thursday, the first day of fourth-quarter trading, virtually flat after stimulus negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reached a standstill. September was the worst month for U.S. stocks since May, and history has shown that October is generally a volatile month for stocks–even more so during election years.

Crucial Quote

“The news of Trump contracting Covid-19 could completely change the direction of the campaign and adds to our already cautious outlook on the stock market,” said James McDonald, the CEO of Los Angeles-based Hercules Investments. “[It] will elevate institutional money’s preparation for a Democratic White House and all the tax, trade and budget implications that go along with it. We expect institutional investors to start de-risking portfolios and increasing hedges in preparation for market volatility.”

Further Reading

Trump’s Covid Diagnosis Rattles Markets: Here’s What Wall Street Thinks Happens Next (Forbes)

Here’s What The Last Jobs Report Before The Presidential Election Means For Voters (Forbes)

U.S. Futures, European Stocks Drop Following Trump’s Covid-19 Diagnosis (Forbes)

Dow Futures Down 400 Points After Trump Tests Positive For Covid-19 (Forbes) Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

Jonathan Ponciano

 Jonathan Ponciano

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

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CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” watch how stocks perform as the market opens, and the team discusses how the White House is responding to President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi U.S. stocks fell in volatile trading on Friday after President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis fueled concerns about the election and a worsening pandemic. Major averages clawed back some of the steep losses after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled aid for the airline industry could be coming soon, perhaps even as part of a much-anticipated broad relief bill. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 134.09 points, or 0.5%, lower at 27,682.81 after dropping 430 points at its session low. The S&P 500 slid 1.0%, or 32.36 points, to 3,248.44 after falling as much as 1.7% earlier. The Nasdaq Composite declined 2.2%, or 251.49 points, to 11,075.02. Shares of airlines jumped higher in unison after Pelosi called on the industry to delay furloughs, saying relief for airline workers is “imminent.” American Airlines and United erased earlier losses and popped 3.3% and 2.4%, respectively. “We will either enact Chairman DeFazio’s bipartisan stand-alone legislation or achieve this as part of a comprehensive negotiated relief bill, extending for another six months the Payroll Support Program,” Pelosi said in a statement. Earlier Friday, Pelosi said Trump’s illness changed the dynamic of stimulus talks, adding lawmakers will find the “middle ground” and will “get the job done.” The House passed the $2.2 trillion Democratic coronavirus stimulus bill Thursday night, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has offered a $1.6 trillion package. Still, the president’s diagnosis added more uncertainty to the election, an event that was already weighing on the market and keeping traders on edge as they attempted to evaluate the possible outcomes. It also raised concerns about a second wave of the virus and a slower reopening. » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic Turn to CNBC TV for the latest stock market news and analysis. From market futures to live price updates CNBC is the leader in business news worldwide. The News with Shepard Smith is CNBC’s daily news podcast providing deep, non-partisan coverage and perspective on the day’s most important stories. Available to listen by 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT daily beginning September 30: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/29/the-n… Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC

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