A President with Covid and fragile American economy mean few investors are buying ahead of the weekend.
Markets remain in something of a holding pattern, with the US being centre stage in the continuing absence of an agreed deal for further fiscal stimulus.
Meanwhile, the election campaign took another twist as the President and the First Lady tested positive for coronavirus, throwing immediate doubts on his impending rallies and the next debate. It's also a psychological blow just days after the President downplayed the effects of Covid-19.
With consumer spending now looking increasingly fragile and following on from earlier announcements of layoffs from the likes of Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), attention will be very much focused later on the politically-charged issue of unemployment. Today's US non-farm payrolls are expected to show that 900,000 jobs have been added (compared to last month’s figure of 1.37 million), with the unemployment rate ticking slightly better to 8.2% (8.4%).
The cumulative performances of the indices in the year to date has edged higher this week, with the Dow Jones now standing down 2.5%, the S&P 500 up 4.6% and the Nasdaq remaining the star of the show and ahead by 26%.
The FTSE 100 index remains fettered by investor insouciance and bleak prospects for the UK economy as a whole, down 23% in the year to date and seemingly unable to break out of its current narrow band.
Further countries being added to the UK quarantine list alongside targeted local lockdowns have done little to lighten the mood, with the moves piling further pressure on several already beleaguered sectors. Large fundraisings announced by the likes of British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (LSE:IAG) and Rolls-Royce (LSE:RR.) are further indications of a travel industry in turmoil.
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