NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street stocks dropped early Thursday (Jan 23) on worries that the coronavirus will crimp growth in China as major companies reported mixed earnings.

China locked down the city of Wuhan and also closed Beijing’s Forbidden City due to rising fears over a new virus that has infected hundreds and killed more than a dozen.

Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare said there are also fears the virus will spread to other Asian countries and cause economic damage.

Singaporean authorities on Thursday confirmed that country’s first case.

“At this juncture, it would have to be labeled an exaggerated fear but worries tend to get exaggerated and investor psychology tends to get rattled more easily in markets trading at a high valuation,” O’Hare said.

About 35 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 29,065.95, down 0.4 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.6 per cent to 3,311.23, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.2 per cent to 9,366.53.

Among companies reporting results, Procter & Gamble edged up 0.3 per cent after reporting better-than-expected profits despite slowing revenue growth.

The consumer products giant pointed to broad-based sales growth, including in its struggling grooming unit.

Among other companies reporting results, American Airlines fell 2.5 per cent, Texas Instruments dropped 2.2 per cent and Union Pacific rose 1.5 per cent.