Coronavirus: New Zealand's stock market down over 3 percent on opening

The world's stock markets continue to be hit by the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus, with the S&P NZX50 dropping over 3 percent when it opened on Thursday. 

The fall comes after stock markets around the world suffered another turbulent day, with the Dow Jones in the US closing over 5 percent down. 

European stock markets were more settled with the FTSE 100 - boosted by an interest rate cut by the Bank of England on Wednesday - closing 0.3 percent down. 

Markets in France and Germany rose slightly while Italy's index fell by 0.4 percent. 

The European Central Bank is expected to announce measures for the eurozone on Friday, NZ time. 

Asian stock markets continued to be hit by the effect of COVID-19 with Japan's Nikkei 225 down over 2 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.6 percent. 

Global markets have fallen off February's highs with the S&P NZX50 down around 10 percent since its recent highs. 

Over the Tasman Australia's S&P/ASX 200 has fallen by over 20 percent since February and is now in a bear market territory. 

The falls came as coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on Thursday.

"WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming level of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction," said Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic."