Wall Street sank more than 1% and the benchmark S&P 500 hit a near one-month low on Tuesday as comments from President Donald Trump stoked fears of a significant delay in resolving a bruising trade dispute with China.
Speaking to reporters in London, Trump raised the possibility of the trade deal being delayed until after the U.S. presidential elections in November 2020.
“I have no deadline, no. In some ways I think it’s better to wait until after the election with China,” Trump said ahead of a meeting of NATO leaders.
Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading lower, with tech heavyweights Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. weighing the most.
The trade-sensitive Philadelphia Semiconductor index dropped 2.2% to an over one-month low.
Tuesday’s declines have pulled the main U.S. stock indexes firmly away from record highs hit last month on hopes that the world’s top two economies will hammer out a “phase one” trade deal soon.
“I suspect it is people wondering whether or not we’re going to get something accomplished,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
The latest fallout from the trade war on the domestic economy was weak factory activity data on Monday.
At 10:00 a.m. the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 364.25 points, or 1.31%, at 27,418.79, the S&P 500 was down 34.65 points, or 1.11%, at 3,079.22 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 99.85 points, or 1.17%, at 8,468.14.
The CBOE Volatility index hit its highest since Oct. 10.
In corporate news, shares of Audentes Therapeutics Inc. more than doubled in value after Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc. said it would buy the U.S. drugmaker for about $3 billion in cash.
AK Steel Holding Corp. rose 4% after miner Cleveland Cliffs Inc. agreed to buy the steel maker for about $1.1 billion in an all-stock deal. Shares of Cleveland-Cliffs slumped 13.4%.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.57-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.96-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 14 new highs and 41 new lows.