Global stock markets roiled as China’s coronavirus spreads

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Investors worldwide have been spooked by the rapid spread of the Chinese coronavirus, with stock markets around the globe sharply lower on Monday.

The death toll rose to 81 as of early Monday, according to Chinese officials, with more than 2,860 people now infected. A fifth case in the U.S. has now been confirmed and the virus has been detected in Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The Stoxx 600 — which tracks a broad number of European stocks — fell by more than 2%, while in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 384 points, or 1.3%. The 30-stock Dow briefly fell more than 500 points earlier in the day.

While most markets in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell by more than 2% while the Topix slipped 1.6%.

The flight from risk comes amid concerns about a possible economic fallout from the virus, with experts recalling the impact of the SARS crisis in 2003. At a press conference on Sunday, China’s top health official said the virus’s transmission ability is strengthening.

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