U.S. stock futures extend losses after Trump says going into quarantine

TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. stock futures dipped on Friday after President Donald Trump said he and his wife will quarantine after a close aide tested positive for the coronavirus.

FILE PHOTO: A worker cleans the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) , U.S., March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.39% in Asian trading after the news, extending earlier losses, while Treasury yields remained broadly unchanged.

The U.S. dollar held steady against most currencies, but it rose against the Australian and New Zealand dollars in a sign of risk aversion.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.15%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.68% as a decline in oil and copper prices weighed on the resources sector.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up 0.15% after the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) resumed normal trading after its worst-ever outage brought the world’s third-largest equity market to a standstill.

Trump said on Twitter that he and his wife had been tested for coronavirus after Hope Hicks, a senior advisor who recently traveled with the president, tested positive.

If Trump also tested positive, that could cause a new wave of market volatility as investors brace for a hotly-contested presidential election in November.

“It depends on how serious this becomes, and whether or not Trump is actually infected,” said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

“The most important thing is we were already worried about an uncertain outcome from the election, and this adds to the uncertainty.”

In addition, a spate of data, including jobless claims and consumer spending, suggested that the plodding U.S. economic recovery could be losing steam.

Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq also fell 0.4% in Asian trading. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was little changed at 0.6709%.

There was a brief jump in trading volumes for both S&P and Nasdaq futures, but activity has subsided as investors await more details, according to a currency trader based in Singapore.

China’s stock and bond markets, foreign exchange and commodity futures markets are closed Oct. 1-8 for the Golden Week holiday. South Korea and Hong Kong markets are also closed on Friday for holidays.

U.S. markets kicked off the fourth quarter by closing higher on Thursday while investors tracked progress in negotiations for additional fiscal stimulus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.13% on Thursday. The S&P 500 gained 0.53% and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.42%.

U.S. consumer spending is starting to slow due to a shaky jobs market. If policymakers cannot agree on more support, the U.S. economy could lose more momentum.

Traders are also waiting for the Labor Department’s report on non-farm payrolls and the jobless rate later Friday, following new layoff announcements from the likes of Disney and Goldman Sachs.

The dollar index was quoted at 93.811, close to a one-week low due to doubts about U.S. stimulus talks.

Spot gold fell 0.55% to $1,894.59 an ounce, adding to its worst month since November 2016, while oil prices continued to fall, adding to a 10% September drop.

Brent crude futures were trading down 1.22% at $40.43 a barrel in Asia on Friday, while U.S. crude futures were down 1.32% at $38.21 a barrel.

Oil prices fell more than 3% on Thursday as rising coronavirus cases around the world dampened the demand outlook, while a rise last month in member output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also pressured prices.

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