Earlier, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would restore tariffs on steel imported from Brazil and Argentina, boosting shares of US steel makers US Steel Corp and AK Steel Holding Corp by 3.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent, respectively.
Still, it was the latest sign that the hydra-headed trade disputes between the United States and its trading partners will continue to rattle markets and hinder global economic growth.
The news comes on the heels of recent Wall Street highs, driven to new records last week on hopes of an imminent “phase one” trade deal between the US and China.
Indeed, a senior adviser to Trump said on Monday it was still possible that a deal with China could be reached by year-end.
“Markets have had a great run this year and expectations are already high that a trade deal gets done,” Carter added. “Any reversal here is likely to negatively impact markets, which is likely what we’re seeing today.”
“The most recent tariff tweet has reminded markets that there’s a lot of uncertainty around trade policy and US actions,” said Carter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 187.67 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 27,863.74, the S&P 500 lost 19.4 points, or 0.62 per cent, to 3,121.58 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 82.29 points, or 0.95 per cent, to 8,583.18.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, only energy was in the black, boosted by rising crude oil prices.
Real estate, technology and communications services were the largest percentage losers.
Investors eyed retail stocks, as Cyber Monday sales were expected to hit a record following $US11.6 billion ($17 billion) in online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Among other stocks, Roku dropped 12.7 per cent following Morgan Stanley’s downgrade to “underweight”.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.61-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.58-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 62 new highs and 33 new lows.