Local economic experts say President Trump's diagnosis means 'uncertainty' for stocks, country's financial future

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis means uncertainty not only for the country’s political future, but also economic. The stock market fell after on the morning Friday, Oct. 2, after he announced his positive test result, but local economic experts said it's just a "bump" in the road.

Financial experts CBS 58 spoke with agree that Trump's illness means a bit less clarity in the already unclear financial world, especially related to the November election.

"Does this (diagnosis) change the expected outcome? If you think that former Vice President (Joe) Biden now has a better chance of winning, that means there's going to be different kind of economic policies, and so they're going to have to put that into their forecast model," said Jim McGibany, chairperson and associate professor of economics at Marquette University.

McGibany said the stock market has slightly recovered since a slight drop early Friday morning, and overall, the news should not be a cause for panic.

"Unless there's just a catastrophic issue here with the health of one of the candidates or that we get to the election and it takes more months to kind of find out who wins the election, this news in particular isn't that big of a deal," he said.

Kyle Tetting, director of research for Milwaukee-based financial planner Landaas & Company, said many factors affect the economy, including state and local governments and Congress. He also mentioned that new labor market information about recent unemployment came out Friday, which also could affect stock prices.

"We want to ascribe a particular piece of news as the reason why markets fall. And the reality is that it's far bigger than any one thing," Tetting said. "I'd argue ... the labor market is probably a more important important indicator right now even than the polls, as far as the presidency is concerned."

McGibany and Tetting agreed that the president's diagnosis does not mean investors should make drastic changes, such as buying or selling all of their stocks. They emphasized that investors tend to invest for the long term.

"If you're talking about a 401k, if you're talking about retirement investments, you're not talking about stuff that you're going to spend tomorrow. So the bigger question is where are we headed as a country? Where are we headed as an economy?" Tetting said.

However, if the president's diagnosis is more serious than first presented, Wall Street may reflect that, McGibany noted.

"One of the things that President Trump is good at is getting out on the campaign trail. If this (diagnosis) stops him from doing that, and that slows down the campaign, that's going to change their forecast of who's going to win, what the economy is going to look like and what the stock market's going to look like," McGibany said.

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