Stock market news today: Dow, S&P fall on Trump’s COVID-19 test, tech slump

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  • US stocks sank on Friday after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump said they both tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The diagnosis adds more uncertainties to the final month of a presidential race already expected to fuel outsize market volatility.
  • While some sectors pared losses and swung higher, falling tech stocks dragged on major indexes and led the Nasdaq composite to underperform its peers.
  • Investors also faced off against weakening economic data. US businesses added 661,000 nonfarm payrolls in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s less than economists’ expectation of 859,000 payrolls.
  • Oil futures continued to slide below the $40 support level. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 5.4%, to $36.63 per barrel.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US equities tumbled on Friday after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced they both tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump was tested late Thursday night after close aide Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus earlier in the week. The White House physician did not say whether the president was showing symptoms, or how long he had been infected. The diagnosis is poised to halt Trump’s campaign events mere weeks away from the US presidential election.

All three major stock indexes sank in the morning in choppy trading. While some sectors pared most losses through the day, falling tech giants slammed benchmarks and led the Nasdaq composite to underperform its peers. Utility, energy, real estate, and industrial stocks all posted gains.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Friday:

Read more: BANK OF AMERICA: Buy these 29 high-quality value stocks primed to cash in on the economic recovery

The Cboe Volatility index — or VIX, which is commonly referred to as the stock market’s fear gauge —

Chinese automakers show off concept sportscars, amid auto market slump

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GAC unveiled its electric sports car prototype on Sept. 26, 2020, at the Beijing auto show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

BEIJING — Some of the flashiest items Chinese companies had on display at the first major auto show since the coronavirus pandemic were concept sports cars.

While vehicle sales for state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) fell 9.87% from a year ago in the first eight months of 2020, following a decline of nearly 4% last year, the company has been developing an electric sports car called “Enpulse.”

The company revealed the glimmering metallic vehicle to media on Saturday at the Beijing auto show, which was delayed by five months due to the outbreak of Covid-19. 

The convertible electric sports vehicle features a yellow interior with striped pink sections, evoking a rainbow. The car was developed by GAC’s global design team, particularly designers from the company’s Los Angeles office, according to GAC.

“Before the advent of cars, traveling afar was ambitious,” Zhang Fan, vice president of design, GAC R&D, said at Saturday’s launch event, according to an official translation of his Mandarin-language remarks.

“Before the advent of electric vehicles, making sports cars accessible to everyone was also ambitious,” he said, adding, “We hope that the Enpulse will chart the course for the realization of our ambition and make the classic sports car romance accessible to everyone.”

GAC’s vehicle sales climbed double-digits in July and August from a year ago. The company still hopes to achieve its goal of 3% growth this year.

Also attracting a bit of a crowd at the Beijing auto show was state-owned Hongqi’s S9 sports car. The hybrid turquoise vehicle was first unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2019, according to state media, and claims a maximum speed of 400 kilometers-an-hour. 

Chinese state-owned brand Hongqi

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks slump as recovery fears grow

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    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I
    * Indonesia stocks hit 2-week low
    * Thai baht at one-month low

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Sept 24 (Reuters) - Stock markets across Asia's emerging economies sank on
Thursday as concerns about rising coronavirus cases in the developed world
hammered investors' risk appetite, driving capital into the dollar and other
traditional safe havens. 
    With the tone set by a drop on Wall Street overnight, Singapore's Strait
Times index was also caught up in the action, losing almost 1% as early
falls in China sparked losses of as much as 2.5% across the region. 
    India, South Korea and Taiwan, among the strongest
performers in recent weeks thanks to their appeal to technology investors, were
the worst hit, falling 1.9%, 2.6% and 2.5%, respectively.
    In Indonesia, hit by concerns over rising domestic COVID-19 cases and moves
to involve the central bank in fiscal stimulus, stocks hit a two-week
low and the rupiah fell for a third session.
    Malaysia's ringgit eased 0.3%, bringing its decline for the week so
far to about 1.3% after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's claimed that he had a
majority to oust the current government.
    That stoked uncertainities about a drawn out power struggle and the
possibility of an early election and threatened to stall vital stimulus for the
economy. 
    Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, whose seven-month old coalition government
has survived with a wafer-thin majority, unveiled an additional economic package
worth 10 billion ringgit ($2.40 billion) on Wednesday as Anwar made his pitch. 
    "Political uncertainty is a near-term risk for implementation of those
(stimulus) policies or projects and hence the speed of economic recovery,"
analysts at China-based trading firm CGS-CIMB said in a note.    
    Despite a dour outlook for global economy, analysts sounded slightly upbeat
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