Stocks closed lower on Wall Street Thursday as investors turned cautious following a surge in cases of a new virus in China that threatens to crimp economic growth and hurt businesses worldwide.
The modest losses snapped a three-day streak of record highs for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite. The selling marked only the second day this month that the market has declined.
Investors largely set aside worries about the economic impact of the virus outbreak the past two weeks. Markets rallied this week partly due to reports that the number of new cases of the new virus in China had declined.
Hopes the spread of the virus had peaked were dashed Thursday, when China reported a sharp rise in cases and deaths after the hardest-hit province of Hubei took a new approach to classifying and diagnosing the virus.
The S&P 500 index dropped 5.51 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,373.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 128.11 points, or 0.4 percent, to 29,423.31. It was down as much as 205 points earlier.
The Nasdaq fell 13.99 points, or 0.1 percent, to 9,711.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 4.36 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,693.74.