US Stocks dive as fears over coronavirus spread

The Dow and the broader stock market ended deep in the red on Friday as fears over the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus tainted investor sentiment.

Stocks started the day higher as it appeared markets were shrugging off the coronavirus news, but took a turn for the worse after a second case was confirmed on US soil in Illinois. The first case was confirmed on Tuesday in Washington state. Both patients had traveled to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus outbreak originated.

Multiple cities in Wuhan’s Hubei province are facing travel restrictions ahead of this weekend’s Lunar New Year celebrations. Investors are now beginning to worry about the outbreak’s impact on the Chinese economy, which is widely considered the growth engine of the global economy.

The Dow (INDU) closed down 0.6%, or 170 points, logging its worst day since the start of the month. The index benefited from an afternoon turnaround of Boeing (BA)’s stock, which finished up 1.7%, after the Federal Aviation Administration said Boeing’s struggling 737 Max jet could regain regulatory approval before the summer.

Still, it was the worst week for the Dow since mid-August.

The broader S&P 500 (SPX) and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP) both ended 0.9% lower. The S&P saw its worst one-day percentage drop since early October, while the Nasdaq had its lowest close since early December.