Stocks open with steep losses after market slides into coronavirus correction

Stocks opened Friday with another round of steep losses following the market’s Thursday plunge into a correction.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank by more than 700 points at the start of Friday trading, falling 2.8 percent. The S&P 500 index also fell 2.6 percent, while the Nasdaq composite took a loss of 2.4 percent.

All three major indexes have fallen more than 10 percent below their most recent peaks, which is the formal threshold for a correction. Wall Street has suffered its worst week of losses since the 2007-08 financial crisis as public health officials warn of a likely coronavirus outbreak within the U.S.

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The Dow plummeted 1,190 points, a 4.4 percent drop, on Thursday, falling more than 10 percent below a record high notched earlier in the month. The S&P 500 also sunk 4.4 percent, while the Nasdaq fell 4.6 percent.

Investors have fled stocks in panic as the U.S. braces for the novel COVID-19 coronavirus to spread among the American population. Experts say that a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus within the U.S. could severely disrupt everyday life, which could dampen economic activity within the country.

While there are more than 80,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, only several dozen of those are in the U.S. Even so, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed at least one nontravel related infection in California, raising fears of a broader outbreak.

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomTrump vows challenge to Nevada bill expanding mail-in voting Fear first, education last? Coronavirus death toll passes 150,000 MORE (D) also announced Thursday that 33 people in the state have tested positive for coronavirus and more than 8,400 are being monitored for it. State officials previously said there were 31 confirmed cases in California, along with more than two dozen nationwide.

Economists say the U.S. could also be hindered by disrupted supply lines, travel limits, canceled travel and events, and a sharp decline in economic growth in China, where the virus is believed to have originated.

Updated at 9:51 a.m.