The U.S. stock market opened Monday to steep declines as investors came to grips with fresh outbreaks of the coronavirus outside of China.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 979 points at the open, or 3.4 percent. The S&P 500 opened to a decline of 3.2 percent. The Nasdaq Composite opened 4 percent lower.
Stocks initially pared back those losses. By 10 a.m. the Dow had climbed more than 200 points from the open, for a decline of around 770 points, or 2.7 percent, from Friday’s close. The S&P 500 was down around 2.5 percent and the Nasdaq had declined by 2.9 percent.
But stocks then headed down again in early afternoon. By midday, the Dow was down by around 1000 points. The S&P and Nasdaq were also hitting lows of the day.
The declines in the U.S. follow steep drops around the world. Germany’s DAX, the industrial powerhouse country’s benchmark index, fell 3.8 percent. The FTSE 100, which tracks stocks listed on the London Stock Exchange, dropped by around 3.5 percent. The CAC, France’s benchmark index, tumbled 4 percent. The FTSE MIB, the primary index for Italian stocks, declined by 5.6 percent.
In Italy, officials cut short the Venice Carnival and quarantined more than 50,000 people, telling them not to leave their towns. The outbreak is particularly concentrated in an area near Milan, the industrial engine of Italy’s economy. It is an area that is particularly important to broader European manufacturing, including German car manufacturers.
The coronavirus has crimped Chinese manufacturing, causes many global companies to warn that their ability to produce some goods could be curtailed. The spread of the contagion now threatens not only to disrupt global supply chains and sharply cut back on trade and travel, but to diminish economic demand more broadly as large events are canceled and people avoid gathering in public places. According to one report, movie theater attendance in South Korea is down 40 percent.