Dow Bounces Into Positive Territory But Nasdaq Remains Sharply Lower

While the tech-heavy Nasdaq remains sharply lower in early afternoon trading on Friday, the Dow has showed a significant turnaround.

After falling by more than 400 points at the start of trading, the Dow has climbed all the way back into positive territory and is currently up 12.78 points or 0.1 percent at 27,829.68.

The rebound by the blue-chip index was partly due to a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledging to provide relief to the airline industry.

Pelosi claimed Congress would either pass stand-alone legislation to aid the airlines or include the relief as part of a broader stimulus bill.

The statement from Pelosi trigged a substantial turnaround by airline stocks, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index currently up by 1.1 percent after plunging by as much as 3.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq has climbed off its worst levels but remains down 168.96 points or 1.5 percent at 11,157.54 amid continued weakness among tech stocks.

Software and semiconductor stocks continue to see considerable weakness in early afternoon trading, dragging the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

The S&P 500 also remains in negative territory on the day, down 13.47 points or 0.4 percent at 3,367.33, although it has climbed well off its lows.

The weakness being shown by the broader indices comes 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 comes 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.”

A report from the Labor Department showing U.S. job growth slowed by much more than anticipated September is also weighing on Wall Street.

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.

While the disappointing data raises concerns about the economy, however, the report could also put further pressure on lawmakers to pass a new stimulus bill.

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.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index fell by 0/3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index closed just above the unchanged line and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly lower over the course of the session after seeing initial strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.5 basis points at 0.692 percent.

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