Pedestrians walk past an electronic sign displaying the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong on March 9, 2020. - Hong Kong stocks ended…
Pedestrians walk past an electronic sign displaying the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong, March 9, 2020. Hong Kong stocks ended Monday's morning session sharply lower, in line with a rout across Asia, on coronavirus fears.

U.S. stocks opened sharply lower Thursday as global investors fret over the coronavirus outbreak and its economic fallout.

Trading was briefly halted after the Dow Jones Industrial Average was more than 7-percent lower at the open, while the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index were down more than 6-percent.

Japan's Nikkei Index earlier Wednesday closed down 4.4%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished down was down 3.7% and China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.5%.  Australian markets dove more than 7% Thursday.

European markets were hit hard in their early trading with those in Britain, France and Germany down 6%.

Less demand for travel because of the virus is also helping drive down world oil prices. Airline stocks and cruise ship lines have also been taking a beating.