The New Zealand market has ended the day well off its lows, following a round of panic selling that saw overseas markets dive overnight.
The NZX Top 50 Index was down nearly 5 percent in early trading, but rose through the day on improved sentiment.
It ended the day down 1.8 percent.
A promise by the United States President Donald Trump to develop an aid package for businesses gave Asian markets a confidence boost, with the Australian market bouncing back from yesterday's more than 7 percent fall.
That sentiment offset some negative New Zealand economic data showing business confidence is down, matched by some weak retail and trade numbers.
Business confidence is down to its lowest level since 2009.
A partial survey of sentiment by the ANZ Bank for this month shows a net 53 percent of businesses expect general conditions to worsen in the year ahead.
The New Zealand dollar was little changed at 63.3 US cents and 96.1 Australian cents.
This morning the New Zealand sharemarket has opened down 3.8 percent in line with other global markets which fell as much as 7 percent overnight.
The benchmark top-50 index immediately fell more than 420 points on the open with falls across the board.
It has extended those losses to be more than 520 points lower, about 4.7 percent, its worst single session in more than a decade.
Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:
- Covid-19: What you need to know
- Timeline: virus's spread across the globe
- Scientific hand-washing advice to avoid infection
- Coronavirus patient 'never really felt unwell'
- More Covid-19 news
Markets around the world tumbled after Saudi Arabia moved to cut oil prices and raise production, when it could not reach an agreement with Russia to cut production to support prices.
The benchmark Brent crude oil price has fallen more than 26 percent over the past 24 hours to their lowest level in four years raising fears of global economic recession.
US markets closed more than 7 percent lower in their worst one day session since December 2008.
Analysts said financial markets were being battered by a "perfect storm" of factors ranging from the Covid-19 virus, oil prices, and low interest rates.
"There's a lot of fear in the market and if the price of oil continues to move lower it's an indication that a global recession is not far away," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York, said.
The New Zealand market in recent weeks has had a pattern of trading poorly in the morning session but trimming its losses towards the end of the day.
Australia's market opened nearly 4 percent down.
In early trade, the ASX 200 lost 3.7 percent or 214 points, and is now down one fifth from its peak a little over two weeks ago.
Qantas shares plunged more than 7 percent after it announced more cuts to international flights.
The Australian dollar has been caught up in the sell-off and fell nearly 1 percent overnight to just below 66 US cents, the ABC reported.
A market strategist expected the sharemarket to remain volatile as more cases of COVID-19 were discovered across the globe.
Westpac's Imre Speizer said all markets were watching how many new cases appeared each day.
Speizer predicted the dramatic drops in the market would be followed with a sharp rebound back up.
- RNZ / ABC