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The major futures indexes are indicating a decline of 0.3 percent.
Markets had been gaining on hopes the outbreak that began in central China might be under control following government controls that shut down much of the world's second-largest economy.
Sentiment was buoyed by stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data and rate cuts by China and other Asian central banks to blunt the economic impact.
But investors were jarred by South Korea's report of 52 new cases of the coronavirus, raising its total to 156, most of them since Wednesday.
China reported 118 deaths and 889 new cases in the 24 hours through midnight Thursday.
That raised the death toll to 2,236 since December and total cases to 75,465.
The number of new cases reported each day has been declining but changes in how Chinese authorities count infections have raised doubts about the true trajectory of the epidemic.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei shed 0.4 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.1 percent and China's Shanghai Composite climbed 0.3 percent.
In Europe, London's FTSE fell 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX slipped 0.2 percent and France's CAC was down 0.3 percent.
|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||23433.57||+779.71||+3.44%|
|I:COMP||NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX||8090.903095||+203.64||+2.58%|
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.4 percent on Thursday after being down as much as 1.3 percent at one point. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 percent.
Gold touched its highest price since early 2013, gaining $14.50 to $1.634.30. The 10-year Treasury’s yield sank to 1.49 percent from 1.57 percent late Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.