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Trump’s coronavirus hits US stocks, oil prices

U.S. stock futures and oil prices fell on Friday after President Donald Trump said he and his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus, weeks ahead of elections.

Futures for the S&P 500 slid 1.21% by early afternoon in Asia, while Treasury yields also fell.

Brent crude slipped on the news and was down 78 cents, or 1.9%, at $40.53 a barrel at 0516 GMT. U.S. oil was 79 cents, or 2%, lower at $37.93.

U.S. oil is heading for a drop of more than 5% this week, while Brent is on track to fall more than 4%, in a second consecutive week of decline for both contracts.

The U.S. dollar rose, particularly against the British pound, the Australian and New Zealand dollars in a sign of risk aversion.

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Trump earlier said on Twitter that he and his wife had been tested for coronavirus after Hope Hicks, a senior advisor who recently traveled with the president, tested positive.

He later tweeted he and the first lady had tested positive: “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,” he said.

Trump’s positive could cause a new wave of market volatility as investors brace for the hotly-contested presidential election in November.

“It has the potential to reduce Trump’s campaigning ability. He’s got a lot on and it’s an interruption,” said Sean Callow, currency strategist at Westpac in Sydney.

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