North American stock markets partly recover from uncertainty over Trump COVID test

North American stock markets partly recover from uncertainty over Trump COVID test

TORONTO — North American stock markets partially recovered on Friday from deep early losses caused by uncertainty after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Markets nosedived after Trump tweeted that he and his wife have COVID-19, although an official said his symptoms are mild.

The markets later improved once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that a fiscal stimulus package deal was “imminent” and talked about help for the battered airline industry.

“As we’ve seen through the day, the markets have been kind of choppy, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that we’ve had any kind of meaningful sell-off,” said Philip Petursson, chief investment strategist at Manulife Investment Management.

“I would say this is an extension of the volatility that we saw in September … Trump may be the catalyst for this, but the symptoms are more seasonal than anything else.”

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 14.71 points to 16,199.25 after falling by as much as 178.84 points earlier in the day.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 134.09 points at 27,682.81 after losing as much as nearly 434 points. The S&P 500 index was down 32.36 points at 3,348.44, while the Nasdaq composite was down 251.49 points at 11,075.02.

Stock markets closed the trading week higher by between 0.8 and 1.9 per cent.

Petursson said the shifting market performance Friday reflects a tug of war between those who believe the Trump news is negative versus those who think it’s benign.

At the heart of the decrease is uncertainty given Trump’s age (74) and his weight, both of which would make him more prone to severe outcomes from the virus.

The fear among investors is if Trump, who polls say is trailing Joe Biden, becomes incapacitated, can’t campaign or even function as president and has to pass the baton to Vice-President Mike Pence.

“So I think there’s some speculation out there as to what is the worst-case outcome. And the worst-case outcome is that he won’t be on the ticket come Nov. 3,” Petursson said in an interview.

Trump’s health “stole the headlines” from the monthly U.S. jobs report which, while disappointing, still saw the unemployment rate fall to 7.9 per cent as more people gave up looking for work.

Non-farm payroll rose by 661,000 in September as just over half the jobs lost in the spring have returned.

The TSX eked out a gain despite lower crude oil and gold prices.

Energy led the 11 major sectors, rising 1.1 per cent with Vermilion Energy Inc. up 5.7 per cent and Husky Energy Inc. up three per cent.

Shares of Suncor Energy Inc. climbed 2.9 per cent after the oil and gas giant said it would eliminate up to 1,930 jobs over the next 18 months.

The November crude contract was down US$1.67 at US$37.34 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down 8.9 cents at nearly US$2.44 per mmBTU.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.13 cents US compared with 75.23 cents US on Thursday.

The influential financials sector rose nearly one per cent to help the TSX while telecommunications also moved higher.

“Financials being the largest weight on the TSX, that certainly is lifting the rest of the TSX into the green,” said Petursson.

Technology, health care, materials and consumer staples were lower.

Materials dropped on lower gold prices.

The December gold contract was down US$8.70 at US$1,907.60 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 11.2 cents at almost US$2.98 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:VET, TSX:HSE, TSX:SU, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

CALGARY — An inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to the… Continue reading

Whatever snow may possibly fall in Red Deer on the weekend will melt when it hits the warm ground, says meteorologist Kyle Fougere with Environment and Climate Change Canada. (File photo by ADVOCATE staff)
Weather expected to get warmer next week in Red Deer

It’s going to be a cold weekend, according to Environment Canada. Saturday… Continue reading

Retired city manager Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the Molly Banister Drive right-of-way at Tuesday's public hearing. He warns of future gridlock if the extension is removed by city council. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Former Red Deer city manager warns killing the Molly Banister Drive extension is ‘a terrible mistake’

Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the road alignment at next week’s public hearing

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Canada’s top physician painted a bleak picture Saturday of the toll the… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is naming his shadow cabinet, including his predecessor Andrew Scheer as the party's infrastructure critic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were “late and confused” on COVID response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Alberta has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Indigenous fishermen carry lobster traps in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan
Federal representative hopes to ease tensions in Nova Scotia lobster dispute

HALIFAX — The man tasked with lowering the temperature in a heated… Continue reading

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read