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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Oil prices plunged after President Trump's overnight announcement that he tested positive for COVID-19 and federal data this morning that showed a slowdown in U.S. hiring.

Why it matters: Oil prices were already under downward pressure from the virus' persistence and, per Reuters, the U.S. impasse over stimulus talks.

Crude's recovery from its spring depths has already been stalled for months as the pandemic's staying power hinders the pace of the demand revival.

  • WTI has largely been hanging around the low-$40s range at best since June, a level that ensures continued financial jeopardy for producers.

What they're saying: “Having already had to deal with growing concerns over the demand outlook, the oil market has been unable to escape the broader market sell-off following President Trump’s positive Covid-19 test result,” ING Bank NV analyst Warren Patterson tells Bloomberg.

The big picture: Via AP, "The positive test reading 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."

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Coronavirus hastens Big Oil's Atlantic divide on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pandemic is accelerating a divide between European and American oil companies over climate change and clean energy.

Why it matters: Bottom lines and investor returns will be vastly different across the corporate spectrum depending on how aggressively the world tackles climate change in the coming decades.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Dec 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Stock traders may be putting too much faith in Congress

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the year comes to an end, investors find themselves in a similar position to where they were when it started: Watching a feverishly hot stock market hitting new highs and wondering if the rally is too good to be true.

The state of play: While stock traders remain confident the Fed will continue to provide unprecedented monetary policy stimulus, the market may need President-elect Joe Biden and a potentially divided Congress to deliver large fiscal spending packages to keep the rally alive.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.