Stock Markets Fall After Trump’s Positive Virus Test

Global markets dropped Friday after President Trump said that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell about 1.7 percent at the start of trading before recovering some ground soon after. European markets opened more than 1 percent lower in early trading, though they clawed back some territory later in the morning and were hovering at about half a percent lower.

The volatility suggested that investors will still be parsing how strongly to react to the news. Mr. Trump’s disclosure injected a huge amount of uncertainty into financial markets, and uncertainty is what investors like least.

“After an initial reaction the news is only likely to have a lasting market impact if its seen as influencing the election outcome or public health,” Paul Donovan, the chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in note to clients.

The market moves early on Friday reflected those jitters. Investors sought to put money in investments that are traditionally considered safe havens.

Prices rose for United States Treasury bonds, sending yields lower. Gold prices also rose, as did the value of the Japanese yen against other currencies.

Investments that are more sensitive to economic and policy shifts fell quickly. Oil futures slid on Friday along with stocks, while other commodities fell too.

In Japan, where the news broke late on the trading day, stocks were nearly 0.7 percent lower after spending most of the day in positive territory. Most other Asian markets were closed for autumn holidays.

Eshe Nelson contributed reporting.