The Dow dropped nearly 200 points Tuesday afternoon on reports of the first case of the Wuhan coronavirus in the United States.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that the first case of the illness in the United States showed up in Washington state. The patient is a male US resident, according to the CDC statement.
The virus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 300 people in China and other Asian countries. Six patients have died. Airline stocks tumbled amid worries surrounding the outbreak's impact on global air travel.
The news of the spreading outbreak, along with a downgrade of Hong Kong's credit quality by ratings agency Moody's, weighed on global stocks overnight. US equities opened lower in New York, but losses were modest until the US case of the virus was reported.
"From an investment standpoint, the risk with any virus is in the scope of its economic impact, and the mere fact that this has spread from China overnight to the US so quickly reinforces the idea that the negative fallout could be global rather than local," said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell, in emailed comments.
The Dow was last 150 points, or 0.5%, in the red, off of its lows. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were both down 0.2%.
Meanwhile, Boeing stock dropped, making matters worse for the Dow.
The shares fell as much as 5.5% on expectations that the company won't receive Federal Aviation Administration approval for its troubled 737 Max jets to fly again until the summer. The stock was briefly halted during the afternoon but rebounded slightly when trading resumed.
Boeing has officially stopped making the 737 Max planes after announcing last year that it would pause production. The best-selling plane has been grounded since March last year following two fatal crashes.