European stocks slid on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, hitting equity markets globally.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.5%, although pulling back from early losses of as much as 1.1%.
The German DAX and France's CAC 40 dropped 0.8% each, while UK's FTSE 100 declined 0.6%.
Trump said on Friday that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19 and were going into quarantine, with just weeks to go before the Nov. 3 presidential election.
“At this stage, it is too early to tell yet how this may affect the election outcome. Markets have sold off in a knee jerk reaction to the news, which is understandable,” said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ in Singapore.
Meanwhile, Paris is set to be placed on maximum COVID-19 alert from as soon as Monday, a move likely to force the closure of restaurants and bars and impose further restrictions on public life.
Data showed international tourist arrivals to Spain fell 76% year-on-year in August, as restrictions related to the pandemic dissuaded many from travelling. Madrid, which is Europe’s worst COVID-19 hotspot, will also go back into a lockdown.
Travel & leisure shares fell 0.5%.
Chemical stocks fell the most with a 1% loss, followed by automakers and industrial sectors.
Gold miner Centamin slumped 19.6% to the bottom of STOXX 600 after it forecast a fall in annual production as it delayed some open-pit mining operations at its key Sukari mine in Egypt.
Shares in French telecom companies Orange, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad rose between 0.8% and 3.9% following the results of an auction of the country's 5G spectrum sale.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar; Additional reporting by Nikhil Nainan; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shounak Dasgupta