Asian markets rally after Trump signals optimism on coronavirus recovery

The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges were closed on Monday for China’s National Day holiday, which continues through Oct. 8.

Markets across the world slumped on Friday as Trump, 74, and a growing number of his aides and high-profile supporters tested positive for the virus. The news added uncertainty to the prospects of the U.S. economic recovery, and called into question how much bandwidth the Trump administration would have for foreign policy in coming weeks.

With the large number of senior U.S. officials who have been in recent proximity to Trump, it was also unclear whether more officials and politicians may test positive.

In Asia, there were fears that China or other nations might take the opportunity of confusion in Washington to make geopolitical moves, amid heightened tensions in the region.

“Markets do not like uncertainty,” said Khoon Goh, head of Asia Research at ANZ. “The U.S. president testing positive this close to the election, it prompts investors to sell first and ask questions later.”

He said the markets recovered some ground on Monday after it appeared Trump’s condition was not as bad as originally feared.

Other factors buoying Asia markets on Monday included some upbeat economic data out of Taiwan and South Korea, and hopes that the U.S. fiscal stimulus package would be passed, he said.

Meanwhile, information from the White House on Trump’s health status continued to be limited and contradictory on Sunday. Officials said Trump had suffered two bouts of low oxygen, but also said he was doing well and could soon be discharged from the hospital.

Trump briefly left the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday in an SUV to wave to supporters.

Stocks fell across Asia last week amid concerns that the global economic recovery would be slower than expected.

U.S. index futures were higher in overnight trading, pointing to a likely rally when the U.S. stock markets open on Monday. On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 0.5 percent, while the Nasdaq fell 2.2 percent.