Here are five things you must know for Friday, Oct. 2:
1. — Stock Futures Slide After Trump Tests Positive for Covid-19
Stock futures declined sharply Friday and global stocks tumbled after President Donald Trump said early Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 394 points and had dropped as much as 450 points during the premarket session. S&P 500 futures tumbled 50 points and Nasdaq futures were sliding 255 points on Friday.
Just before 1 a.m. ET, the president posted via Twitter that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus, adding that the two “will get through this together.”
Hours earlier, he had revealed that Hope Hicks, his adviser, also tested positive for Covid-19.
The announcement from Trump comes as big cities across the U.S., such as New York, have seen a spike in coronavirus cases. More than 7.2 million cases of the virus have been confirmed in the United States, with more than 207,800 deaths, the most in the world.
The announcement also comes with the presidential election just 33 days away.
“To say this potentially could be a big deal is an understatement,” said said strategists at Rabobank. “Anyway, everything now takes a backseat to the latest incredible twist in this U.S. election campaign.”
The toll the pandemic has taken on the U.S. labor market will be revealed later Friday when the Labor Department issues the U.S. jobs report for September.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed a slimmed down $2.2 trillion stimulus package that likely will be rejected by the Senate, adding to doubts over any near-term relief for the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
2. — U.S. Jobs Gains Expected to Have Slowed in September
Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the U.S. to have added 857,500 jobs in September, down from 1.371 million in August. The unemployment rate in September is forecast to have fallen to 8.2% from 8.4%.
Jobs gains have been slowing over the past three months. The U.S. added 4.8 million jobs in June and 1.7 million in July.
The calendar Friday also includes Consumer Sentiment for September at 10 a.m. and Factory Orders for Factory Orders for August at 10 a.m.
3. — Amazon Says Nearly 20,000 Workers Test Positive for Covid-19
Amazon.com (AMZN) – Get Report said nearly 20 million of its employees tested positive for Covid-19 or were presumed to have the virus.
The online retailing and tech giant said in a blog post that 19,816 front-line employees who worked for Amazon from March 1 to Sept. 19, tested positive. The company has 1.372 million employees at Amazon and Whole Foods, making for an infection rate of 1.44%.
“We have been conservative in this analysis. First, we cast a wide net by including both confirmed and presumptive cases in the Amazon figures,” the company said. “Second, actual Covid-19 rates in the general population are greater than the official counts because not everyone in the general public gets screened for symptoms or tested. “Amazon employees are regularly screened for symptoms and are increasingly being tested at work, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms, to identify asymptomatic cases.”
Amazon said if its infection rate was the same as the rate of the general population, it would have seen 33,952 cases.
Amazon had received criticism in the early days of the pandemic for not disclosing the severity of outbreaks at its warehouses, and workers complained about the lack of information.
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4. — Activision Blizzard Delays Latest ‘World of Warcraft’ Installment
Activision Blizzard (ATVI) – Get Report shares declined in premarket trading Friday after the videogame maker said it would delay the release of its “World of Warcraft: Shadowlands” to later this year.
The game was scheduled to be released at the end of October.
Activision said it doesn’t expect the timing change to have a material impact on its financial results for 2020.
“It is important for us to deliver an experience that meets our highest expectations and those of our players,” said John Hight, executive producer for “World of Warcraft.” “With that in mind, we made the decision to do what’s right for the game and take the extra time, and we think players will enjoy this expansion even more as a result of the additional work.”
The stock fell 1.43% to $81.50 in premarket trading Friday.
5. — GM Reportedly Could Seek a Bigger Stake in Nikola
General Motors (GM) – Get Report could seek a higher stake in Nikola (NKLA) – Get Report now that the electric-truck startup’s valuation has fallen following fraud allegations from a short-seller and a federal investigation into those claims, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.
Nikola has been beset by a series of problems, including allegations by Hindenburg Research that have sparked an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice; and the resignation of its founder and former executive chairman, Trevor Milton. The stock has fallen more than half since the deal with GM was announced Sept. 8.
Nikola’s $2 billion deal with the Detroit automaker – which was was slated to close Wednesday – stalled after allegations of fraud and sexual abuse surfaced against Milton, according to a CNBC report.
Bloomberg reported that GM has been seeking better terms before closing, and could push to raise its equity in Nikola beyond the planned 11% or seek warrants that would guarantee or even boost its level of ownership if the company raises more money.