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Wall St tumbles on Trump's trade comments

Arjun Panchadar

Wall Street has fallen more than 1 per cent and the benchmark S&P 500 has hit a near one-month low as comments from US President Donald Trump stoked fears of a significant delay in resolving a bruising trade dispute with China.

Speaking to reporters in London on Tuesday, Trump raised the possibility of the trade deal being delayed until after the US 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, Microsoft and Amazon.com weighing the most.

The trade-sensitive Philadelphia Semiconductor index dropped 2.2 per cent to an over one-month low.

Tuesday's declines have pulled the main US 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 10.00am local time on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 364.25 points, or 1.31 per cent, at 27,418.79; the S&P 500 was down 34.65 points, or 1.11 per cent, at 3,079.22; and the Nasdaq Composite was down 99.85 points, or 1.17 per cent, at 8,468.14.

The CBOE Volatility index hit its highest since October 10.

In corporate news, shares of Audentes Therapeutics more than doubled in value after Japan's Astellas Pharma said it would buy the US drugmaker for about $US3 billion ($A4.4 billion) in cash.

AK Steel Holding rose 4 per cent after miner Cleveland-Cliffs agreed to buy the steel-maker for about $US1.1 billion in an all-stock deal. Shares of Cleveland-Cliffs slumped 13.4 per cent.

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.