The three main U.s. stock benchmarks finished Friday in negative territory, but well off their lows, as investors parsed news that President Trump said he and the first lady tested positive for coronavirus. The news overnight unsettled global markets and injected a range of uncertainties into the psyche of investors just as the race for the White House between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is heating up. However, Wall Street managed to claw back from some of the lowest levels of Friday trade amid renewed talk of coronavirus stimulus aid in Congress, which could help extend gains for equity markets and help to stimulate an economy that some say is showing signs of stalling out as it recovers from the deadly disease that has now stricken the leader of the largest democracy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed off 134 points, or 0.5%, but had been down by as many as 434 points. The S&P 500 index closed off 1% lower at 3,348 but had hit an intraday low at 3,323. The technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index took it on the chin as those stocks that have seen the most momentum higher sold off. The Nasdaq closed down 2.2% to close at 11,075. Meanwhile, the small-capitalization focused Russell 2000 index closed the session higher, reflecting some bets that the economy is improving, albeit, in fits and starts. For the week, the Dow closed the week 1.9% higher, the S&P 500 booked a 1,5% weekly gain, while the Nasdaq finished the week up 1.5%. Trump’s new overshadowed mixed results from the September jobs report and an otherwise upbeat session for equity investors after four weeks of losses.
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