World stocks skid on growing virus fears; Dow drops 500

Stocks tumbled at the open on Wall Street following a sell-off in markets in Europe and Japan as investors grow more concerned about the potential economic impact of an outbreak of a deadly coronavirus.

Chinese authorities reported 2,744 people sickened and 81 killed by the new virus first found in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Major US indexes fell more than 1% Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping as many as 500 points.

Hotels, airlines and other travel and tourism companies fell the most. Oil dropped more than 2%, while gold rose.

Bonds rose and the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.61%.

China extends holiday to contain virus as death toll rises

On Friday, the S&P 500 had its worst day since early October, dropping 0.9% as health care stocks saw steep losses. The sell-off followed news that a Chicago woman had become the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the new virus from China. 

Investors have been shifting money into safe-play, high-dividend stocks and government bonds. The surge in bond-buying has sent yields lower.

Investors also are digging through the latest batch of company earnings reports, including strong results from chipmaker Intel and American Express. This week is shaping up to be the busiest week for earnings, with roughly 40% of the companies in the S&P 500 due to issue their results for the last three months of 2019.

Benchmark U.S. crude gave up $1.71 to $52.48 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost $1.40 to $54.19 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, declined $2.63 to $58.06 per barrel. It shed $1.39 to $59.89 per barrel on Friday.

In currency trading, the dollar weakened to 108.94 Japanese yen from 109.28 yen. The euro was steady at $1.1020.