Oil prices, shares sink after Trump contracts coronavirus


Oil prices extended losses to about 3 percent on Friday, after United States President Donald Trump said he tested positive for coronavirus.

Trump tweeted on Friday early morning that him and his wife, first lady Melania Trump have contracted the virus.

The news of his positive result came just hours after the White House announced that Hope Hicks, one of his aides, had come down with the virus after travelling with the president several times this week.

Brent crude slipped on the Trump news and was down $1.12, or 2.7 percent, at $39.81 a barrel by 0710 GMT. U.S. oil was also down $1.12, or 2.9%, at $37.60. US and Brent crude are heading for drops of around 5 percent and 6 percent, respectively, this week for a second consecutive week of declines.

Also, US stock futures, European and Asian shares fell Friday. The future contracts for both the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials dropped nearly 2 percent but were trading 1.2 percent lower several hours later.

The positive test result for the leader of the world's largest economy heaps uncertainty onto a growing pile of unknowns investors are grappling with, first among them how it might affect the Nov. 3 election and American policies on trade, tariffs and many other issues beyond then.

"To say this potentially could be a big deal is an understatement," Rabobank said in a commentary. "Anyway, everything now takes a backseat to the latest incredible twist in this US election campaign."

A statement issued by Trump's doctor saying both he and his wife were well and that he would continue his duties appeared to calm the markets' reaction.

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