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U.S. Stocks May Give Back Ground As Trump Tests Positive For Coronavirus

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Stocks are likely to come under pressure in early trading on Friday, giving back ground following the upward move seen over the two previous sessions. The major index futures are currently pointing to a sharply lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 395 points.

Renewed concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to weigh on Wall Street following news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!" Trump said in a post on Twitter early this morning.

The news come just a month before Election Day and is likely to generate additional uncertainty about the outcome of the presidential election.

White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said the president and first lady were "both well at this time, and they planned to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence."

Conley added that he expects Trump to "continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering."

Adding to the negative sentiment, the Labor Department recently released a report showing U.S. job growth slowed by much more than anticipated in the month of September.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 661,000 jobs in September after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.489 million jobs in August.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 850,000 jobs compared to the jump of 1.371 million jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the weaker than expected job growth, the report said the unemployment rate slid to 7.9 percent in September from 8.4 percent in August. The unemployment rate was expected to dip to 8.2 percent.

Not long after the start of trading, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its revised reading on consumer sentiment in the month of September. The consumer sentiment index is expected to be upwardly revised to 79.0 from the preliminary reading of 78.9.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on new orders for manufactured goods in the month of August. Factory orders are expected to increase by 1.0 percent in August after spiking by 6.4 percent in July.

Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday, adding to the gains posted on Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq moved sharply higher on the day, while the Dow fluctuated over the course of the session.

The Nasdaq surged up 159.00 points or 1.4 percent to 11,326.51, its best closing level in nearly a month. The Dow posted a more modest gain, inching up 35.20 points or 0.1 percent to 27,816.90, while the S&P 500 climbed 17.80 points or 0.5 percent at 3,380.80.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Friday, although several major markets remained closed for holidays. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.7 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has slumped by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are down by 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are tumbling $1.46 to $37.26 a barrel after plunging $1.50 to $38.72 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after spiking $20.80 to $1,916.30 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are slipping $1.20 to $1,915.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 105.25 yen versus the 105.53 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1712 compared to yesterday's $1.1748.

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