The major equity indexes slid into negative territory again on Tuesday, as escalating trade tensions with China triggered global growth fears and sent the equity market well into the red.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its second largest daily percentage drop of the year, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq registered their third largest percentage drops, even as the major indexes pared losses to end off their session lows.
Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said late on Monday that China had backtracked from commitments made during trade negotiations.
Beijing said on Tuesday that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Thursday and Friday for trade talks. Additional tariffs are set to take effect on Friday if a trade agreement is not reached by then.
Monday’s comments from Lighthizer and Mnuchin raised concerns among some investors that trade talks between China and the United States could drag on for some time.
The result of course is that additional tariffs, if imposed, will likely interrupt supply chains and hamper economic growth.
Trade-sensitive industrial and technology stocks chalked up the largest percentage declines among the S&P 500’s major sectors. All 11 sectors were in the red, with only utilities and energy falling less than 1%.
Shares of Boeing fell 3.9%, while shares of Caterpillar were down 2.3%. Among technology stocks, Microsoft slid 2.1%, while Apple fell 2.7%. Apple and Microsoft were the top two drags on the S&P 500.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of investor anxiety, spiked to its highest level in more than three months.
In a bright spot, American International Group saw its shares rise 6.8% after the company reported a quarterly earnings number that exceeded Street consensus.
With earnings season now in its homestretch, first-quarter earnings are now expected to rise 1.2%, a sharp improvement from the 2.3% decline expected at the start of the earnings season. And of the 414 S&P companies that have reported earnings so far, about 75% have surpassed analysts’ estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Conversely, Mylan NV shares fell 23.8%, the most among S&P 500 companies, after the company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenues and at the same time failing to provide greater clarity on a potential revamp of the company’s strategy.
Approximately 7.8 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, compared to the 6.71 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.