U.S. stock indexes fell on Friday after data showed U.S.
business activity stalled in February, and a spike in new coronavirus cases in China and elsewhere sent investors scrambling for safer assets such as gold and government bonds.
A flash reading of the IHS Markit services sector Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to its lowest level since October 2013, signalling a contraction for the first time since 2016. The manufacturing sector also clocked its lowest reading since August.
Declines on Friday were led by heavyweights Microsoft.