United States stock markets have opened lower after Donald Trump said he had tested positive for coronavirus.
All three of America’s main indexes – the Dow Jones, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq – fell by between 1% and 2.2% when trading began on Friday, broadly in line with market expectations. Minutes later, markets rose slightly.
The US President tweeted he and his wife Melania had contracted Covid-19.
It comes as the US heads into the final weeks before the Presidential election.
Mr Trump tweeted: “Tonight FLOTUS [First Lady of the US] I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Hours earlier, Mr Trump had declared that the end of the coronavirus pandemic “is in sight”.
The Dow Jones was trading 0.8% lower in early trade, the tech-focused Nasdaq fell 1.2% and the S&P 500 index dropped 0.9%.
In London, the FTSE 100 index recovered some ground, being down 0.2% at 5,866.01 in early afternoon trade. In France, the Cac-40 is trading down 0.9% while Germany’s Dax index is 1.1`% lower.
“This election already had a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it as Trump has refused to say whether he will accept the final vote and has also said that the final result may not be known for months,” said Fiona Cincotta, market analyst at City Index UK.
“The markets are already fretting about an uncertain election and this just adds another layer of uncertainty, favouring the risk-off trade.”
Futures trading before the US market opened had indicated that the main US indexes would drop.
“It is prime time now for (the) US election,” said Jingyi Pan, a senior market strategist at IG Group. “Should the President be absent during this period, that could mean even more complications with the election.”
Mr Trump and his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, are scheduled to hold two more debates ahead of polling day on 3 November.
Earlier this week, the two faced each other for the first time in a combative encounter.
The rules for the remaining debates have now been changed to ensure the two remaining meetings will be more orderly.