North American markets open sharply lower amid growing recession fears

COVID-19: U.S. stocks plunge as global outbreak continues
WATCH: U.S. stocks plunge as global outbreak continue

U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Friday as investors dumped equities amid a rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak, which has raised fears of a possible global recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 495.81 points, or 1.92 per cent, at the open to 25,270.83.

The S&P 500 opened lower by 61.86 points, or 2.08 per cent, at 2,916.90. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 296.74 points, or 3.46 per cent, to 8,269.74 at the opening bell.

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READ MORE: Dow Jones sinks nearly 1,200 points amid coronavirus worries, worst 1-day drop since 2011

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 499.92 points to 16,217.52 at 9:50 am ET.

Trading on major Canadian exchanges resumed on Friday morning after being suspended on Thursday following what TMX Group, which operates the exchanges, said was a system capacity issue within the messaging technology component of its trading engine.

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READ MORE: Toronto stock exchange halts trading over technical issue, says systems ‘ready’ for Friday

The trouble on the exchange came amid heaving trading as investors have been selling off stocks amid fears that the novel coronavirus outbreak that began in China will hurt the global

— With files from the Canadian Press