Wall Street had a wild night with the Dow falling to its lowest level of the year and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each poised for the biggest daily percentage drop since February 8.
Investors sold off technology stocks, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq index tumbling 2.9 per cent.
Amazon shares lost 5 per cent after US President Donald Trump continued his attack on the company via Twitter, while shares in Intel dropped 6 per cent, following reports Apple is planning to switch from using Intel computer chips to its own custom chips in Mac computers as early as 2020.
Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country…not a level playing field!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
Shares of Tesla were down 5.2 per cent after the company was reported to be making 2000 Model 3s per week, missing its 2500 target.
The electric car-maker’s losses extend last week’s near 14 per cent decline as investigations of a fatal California crash and a Moody’s credit downgrade weighed on the stock.
Fears of a trade war also loomed large on the markets, soon after China flagged retaliatory trade including tariffs on more than 120 US products.
But one commentator said fears over China were not the major factor in the falls.
“I think this is still primarily a tech-led sell-off and what we’ve learned over the past two weeks is just how overweight investors were in technology,” said Nicholas Colas, co-founder of Datatrek Research in New York.
“Now there is a fundamental reset on how much tech exposure investors are willing to bear.
“[I don’t think it is] primarily related to China. The tariff war has been a concern for a couple of weeks. The response was probably more muted than most thought,” said Colas.
Food companies were hit hard following the news of China’s tariffs. Shares in processed food maker Tyson Foods fell 6.2 per cent.
Oil prices also fell, leading shares in energy companies on Wall Street to end lower.
On the Australian market, ASX SPI 200 futures were closed over the Easter break, so are 10 points higher, not reflecting the big falls on the US market.
The Australian dollar is slightly weaker.
It’s buying about 76.5 US cents, 54.5 British Pence, 62.2 Euro cents and 81.1 Japanese Yen.