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A broad range of real estate stocks ended a volatile Friday ahead, despite major U.S. markets losing ground. 

President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus 

While news that President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus fueled uncertainty, the Labor Department’s employment report showed strong gains in the leisure and hospitality sector. The industry added 318,000 jobs in September, far outpacing August numbers, and accounting for nearly half of the total 661,000 jobs added to the overall U.S. economy.

The retail sector, which has been among the hardest hit since the pandemic took hold, added 142,000 jobs last month, fewer than in August. The gains were mainly in clothing and general merchandise stores. Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest mall operator, closed the day with shares up 2.5 percent, at $68.20. Macerich, another mall real estate investment trust that has in previous months struggled to collect rent, ended Friday up 5.7 percent, at $7.41. 

The September jobs numbers still can’t offset the broader damage the pandemic has inflicted; the retail industry now employs 483,000 fewer people than it did in February.

But there are continued signs of improvement. 

In August, buyers snapped up single-family homes in numbers not seen since before the Great Recession. Existing home sales also hit a 14-year high in August with 1.01 million new homes sold, according to the Census Bureau’s monthly report.

Residential REITs also closed higher Friday. 

Chicago-based Equity Residential gained 3.1 percent to close at $55.09, and AvalonBay Communities ended the day at $157.94, up 1.5 percent. 

Despite President Trump’s Covid disclosure, volatility measures of the stock market held steady or decreased slightly on Friday. Volatility indices have risen substantially since the onset of the pandemic. 

The Nasdaq Composite closed 2.2 percent lower. On TRD’s list of 29 real estate stocks, CoStar Group was among the two  to end the day lower, down 1.2 percent to $855.10. The Dow Jones was down half a percent at the closing bell.

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