“Since August was a good month for stocks, we are seeing some profit-taking and the headlines on China negotiations seem to be weighing a little bit as well,” said Sean O’Hara, president of Pacer ETFs in Paoli, Pennsylvania.
Consultations on a US proposal for new tariffs on Chinese goods is set to end on September 6, after which US President Donald Trump can follow through on plans to impose levies on $US200 billion ($279 billion) more of Chinese imports, though it is unclear how quickly that will happen.
Talks between Canada and the United States to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ended on a sour note on Friday, but officials set plans to resume their talks on Wednesday.
Amidst the gloom, Amazon’s shares rose as much as 1.9 per cent to hit a record $US2,050.50, joining Apple in the $US1 trillion market cap.
“Amazon is just light years ahead of others and has such an overwhelming advance over any other entities,” said Kevin Miller, chief investment officer at Evaluator Funds in Bloomington, Minnesota.
At 13:13 ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 72.11 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 25,892.71, the S&P 500 was down 9.55 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 2,891.97 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 35.00 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 8,074.54.
The indexes pared losses after data from the Institute for Supply Management showed US manufacturing activity accelerated to more than a 14-year high in August, boosted by a surge in new orders.
Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, led by a 1.52 per cent drop in the telecom sector.
Verizon slipped 2.5 per cent after Barclays downgraded the wireless carrier’s stock.
Western Digital fell 6.7 per cent and Seagate