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Stocks Finish Lower as Trump Tests Positive for Covid-19

Stocks end lower as President Trump tests positive for the coronavirus and the U.S. adds fewer jobs in September than forecast.

Stocks ended lower Friday after President Donald Trump said he tested positive for the coronavirus and the U.S. added fewer jobs in September than forecast.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had tumbled on the news, ended down 134 points, or 0.48%, at 27,682, the S&P 500 declined 0.96% and the Nasdaq slumped 2.22%.

But the stock market finished the week higher: The Dow rose by 1.9%, and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each gained 1.5%.

Airline stocks climbed after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi she was willing to pass a stand-alone Covid-19 airline-relief bill and asked the airlines to delay job cuts that started this week. 

United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Free Report, Delta Airlines  (DAL) - Get Free Report, and Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Free Report all finished higher.

Tech stocks got hammered during the session, with Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Free Report, Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report, Apple  (AAPL) - Get Free Report and Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report all finishing lower.

Just before 1 a.m. ET Friday, the president posted via Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus, adding that the two "will get through this together." 

Reports Friday said Trump was experiencing cold-like symptoms.

Hours earlier, he had said that Hope Hicks, his adviser, also tested positive for Covid-19.

Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, all tested negative.

The announcement early Friday from Trump came as big cities across the U.S., such as New York, have seen coronavirus cases spike. Roughly 7.3 million cases of the virus have been confirmed in the U.S., with more than 208,400 deaths, the most in the world.

The announcement also comes with the presidential election just 33 days away.

"The news of President Trump contracting Covid-19 may completely change the direction of the campaign and adds to our already cautious outlook on the stock market," said James McDonald, chief executive of Hercules Investments in Los Angeles. 

"President Trump contracting the coronavirus 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 derisking portfolios and increasing hedges in preparation for market volatility," McDonald added.

The toll the pandemic has taken on the U.S. labor market was evident Friday after the Labor Department said U.S. employers added a fewer-than-expected 661,000 jobs in September.

Economists surveyed by FactSet expected the U.S. to have added 857,500 jobs in September, lower than an upwardly revised August tally of 1.49 million. The unemployment rate fell to 7.9%, below estimates of 8.2%.

Job gains have been slowing over the past four months. The U.S. added 4.8 million jobs in June and 1.7 million in July.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed a slimmed down $2.2 trillion stimulus package. It won't be considered in the Senate, adding to doubts about any near-term relief for the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report said deliveries for the three months ended in September were 139,300, just ahead of Wall Street estimates. 

The third-quarter total compares to a 90,650 tally for the three months ended in June. That still leaves Tesla needing to shift 166,000 cars - another record - over the final three months of the year to meet its 2020 estimate of 500,000.

Tesla shares fell 7.4% during the regular Friday session to $415.09.