Stocks open sharply lower amid investor worries about coronavirus

Dow 10% below recent record high

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2020, file photo trader Michael Milano works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 27. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2020, file photo trader Michael Milano works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 27. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

NEW YORK – Stocks fell sharply in early trading Thursday, extending a weeklong rout and bringing the Dow Jones Industrial Average 10% below the record high it hit just two weeks ago.

Microsoft and Budweiser maker InBev became the latest large companies to warn investors about the virus’ potential hit to its finances. Meanwhile nations are taking increasingly drastic measures to try and contain the outbreak and the fears over the potential spread in the U.S. are rising.

Bond yields continued sliding in a further sign that investors were shifting money into lower-risk assets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell further into record low territory, to 1.25% from 1.31% late Wednesday. Gold prices edged higher.

The S&P 500 slid 2.4% as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern time. The broad index is now on track for its worst week since November 2008, during the global financial crisis. If the losses last through the close of trading, the S&P 500 will have its first 10% decline from a recent peak, what's known among market watchers as a “correction,” since late 2018.

The Dow lost 616 points, or 2.3%, to 26,349. The Nasdaq slid 2.3%.

Technology stocks again led the decline. Microsoft lost 2.8%. The software giant told investors that the virus will hurt revenue from its Windows licenses and its Surface devices.

American Airlines plunged 8.5% as airlines continue to feel pain from disrupted travel plans and suspended routes. Delta Airlines, which is reducing flights to South Korea because of the outbreak in that nation, fell 4.5%.

Financial warnings also came from Budweiser maker InBev and cloud-computing company Nutanix.