Trump Covid: US shares slump after president tests positive

US President Donald Trump and his wife MelaniaImage copyright

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US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania both tested positive for Covid-19

US stock markets slumped on Friday but regained some losses triggered by news that Donald Trump had tested positive for coronavirus weeks before the election.

All three main indexes – the Dow Jones, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq – fell between 1% and 2.2% in early trade.

But hopes of aid for the airline industry helped lift shares at mid-day. The Dow closed down just 0.48%.

Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi said relief for airlines was “imminent”.

While she had previously called for a comprehensive aid bill, she said Congress was now prepared to advance support focused on the airlines, which warned this week they were moving forward with plans to cut more than 30,000 jobs.

“We will either enact … stand-alone legislation or achieve this as part of a comprehensive negotiated relief bill, extending for another six months the Payroll Support Program,” Ms Pelosi said in a statement. “As relief for airline workers is being advanced, the airline industry must delay these devastating job cuts.”

United Airlines and American Airlines, the two firms that ad announced massive cuts, shot into positive territory following the comments, ending the day up more than 2%.

The gains helped lift shares more widely with the exception of the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones closed 0.48% lower, the S&P 500 index dropped 0.9%, and the tech-focused Nasdaq fell 2.2%.

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