Futures markets suggested a calm Wall Street opening a day after the spread of the new coronavirus rattled investors.

Credit…Yonhap/EPA, via Shutterstock

Keith Bradsher

SHANGHAI — Global stocks stabilized on Tuesday, a day after fears of the spread of the new coronavirus outside China spooked investors into a worldwide sell-off.

Shares fell in most markets in Asia, led by Japan, which had closed for a holiday on Monday and missed that day’s drop. The Nikkei 225 index tumbled more than 3.3 percent. Most other Asian markets fell at a much slower pace.

But shares in Europe opened mostly higher, suggesting investors’ nerves had steadied. Futures trading indicated that American markets would rise when they opened on Tuesday.

The signs of stabilization followed a difficult Monday, when investors began to more fully comprehend the extent of the outbreak. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index fell 3.4 percent on Monday, its worst single-day performance since February 2018. European markets recorded their worst session since 2016.

Investors could face more wild rides as the coronavirus outbreak spreads further, crimping consumer demand and snarling the world’s supply chains. UBS said on Tuesday that it was recommending investors switch to emerging market stocks, and warned that holding shares in European companies presented a particular danger.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?

      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?

      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?

      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?

      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?

      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?

      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

“The emergence of a large number of new cases in Italy has materially increased the risk of a sharp drop in consumer and business confidence in Europe, and potentially North America too if more cases are confirmed there in the coming days,” Mark Haefele, the chief investment officer at UBS’s global wealth management operations, said in an investment report.

UBS also said that it was recommending investors buy shares in companies that cater to “stay-at-home” consumers, like electronic commerce and food delivery services.

In China, the Shanghai stock market fell 0.6 percent, while the market in the city of Shenzhen rose by about half a percent.

Both markets had been fairly insulated from the global selling on Monday, a stability that analysts attributed to Beijing policies such as ordering fund managers not to sell more shares than they buy. Beijing has a history of tolerating share price declines more readily if they look like echoes of Wall Street’s activity, and that appeared to be true on Tuesday as well.

The Hong Kong market was little changed, after falling more than the mainland markets on Monday.

In South Korea, shaken by the world’s second-largest outbreak of the virus outside China, share prices rebounded on Tuesday morning after enduring one of the sharpest drops of any large market around the world the day before. They ended up 1.2 percent.

Stock markets in commodity-exporting countries continue to suffer losses as traders worry that demand for their goods may decline if more countries suffer the kind of bruising deceleration in economic activity that China has endured. Australia’s stock market fell 1.6 percent on Tuesday.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3 percent early, while German’s DAX rose 0.1 percent.