Financial markets latest: Stocks boosted by news of Trump's health improving

European and Asian markets rose on Monday
Markets were boosted by news of Trump's recovery

Positive signs on Donald Trump's health have boosted European and Asian stock markets. Tradefair brings you the latest financial market news...

"I think I'll be back soon and I look forward to finishing up the [election] campaign the way it was started."

- Donald Trump

Asian stocks showed strong growth today (Monday October 5) and European markets also made a positive start to the day, as investors took confidence from signs that Donald Trump is recovering from coronavirus.

The president, who will face Democratic rival Joe Biden in the US election on November 3, was diagnosed with Covid-19 last week and confirmed the news in a tweet in the early hours of Friday morning. He was admitted to hospital later that day.

Despite some confusion and conflicting reports on Trump's progress over the weekend, the announcement from his doctors that he could be discharged as early as today provided a boost for financial markets.

Markets rattled

Investors were clearly spooked by the news that the president had contracted the virus and been hospitalised so close to the election, adding to the already high levels of political uncertainty in the US.

The Nasdaq Composite plunged at the open on Friday and finished the day more than 2% down, wiping out gains it had made on the previous two days. The tech-focused index endured a difficult September, losing more than 6% of its value over the course of the month.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by nearly 1% on Friday morning and ended the day in the red, despite a slight rally in the afternoon, while the S&P 500 was almost 1% down on the day.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 was negative on Friday morning but made gains in the afternoon that resulted in a daily rise of nearly 0.2%, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 followed a similar pattern.

Over the weekend, investors who were looking for clear indications on the state of Trump's health didn't get them from the president's medical team.

Confusion

There was confusion about how the Republican leader was progressing after his doctors and members of his White House team sent out mixed messages over the weekend.

Dr Sean Conley initially said on Saturday the president had not required additional oxygen and had been fever-free for 24 hours, but shortly after, Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that medics were "very concerned" about his vital signs before he arrived at the Walter Reed Medical Center just outside Washington DC.

When asked why he didn't reveal that Trump had needed extra oxygen, Dr Conley said he was "trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team" and "didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction".

He added: "In doing so, [it] came off like we were trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true."

The president himself was keen to show that he is in good health, taking part in a drive-past and waving to supporters outside the hospital on Sunday.

He also issued a tweet thanking the medical staff at Walter Reed for his care, adding: "With their help, I am feeling well!"

In a four-minute video message shared on Twitter, Trump said: "I think I'll be back soon and I look forward to finishing up the [election] campaign the way it was started."

Investors gain confidence

Despite the confusion over the weekend, statements from the president's doctors regarding his improving health buoyed stock markets on Monday.

Speaking on Sunday, Dr Brian Garibaldi, a pulmonary specialist, said: "If he continues to look and feel as good as he does today, our hope is we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House, where he can continue his treatment course."

In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and the Japanese Nikkei 225 were both up by more than 1.2% on Monday, although the Shanghai Composite was down 0.2%.

Europe also made a positive start to the day, with the FTSE jumping by more than 1.1% at the open and staying in the green throughout the morning, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 were both up by more than 0.6% going into the afternoon.

Wall Street futures indicated that the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were all set to open strongly on Monday.

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