Photo: AFP/Bryan Smith
Photo: AFP/Bryan Smith

Major US benchmarks all plunged more than 1.5% on Tuesday, extending a slide that has now seen gains erased for the year.

What started this week as a story about a retreat in US tech stocks, led by Apple and Facebook, has now seemingly spread to every sector of equities markets.

Adding to the uncertainty is the backdrop of global trade tensions, with growing signs that the US and China will find little ground for agreement when the countries’ leaders meet in Buenos Aires this month.

Shares of Apple continued to drop, falling more than 4% on Tuesday. The iPhone maker is now down 25% since a recent high.

Retail stocks took a hit on earnings misses, with Target falling more than 10% and helping spur a selloff in the sector. SPDR S&P retail ETF fell more than 3% on the day.

There has been very little news to support optimistic remarks in recent weeks from US President Donald Trump about a trade deal with China, which were often followed by stock rallies.

The Trump administration is scheduled to increase the tariff rate on US$250 billion in Chinese goods at the end of the year from 10% to 25%. Trump has also threatened to expand the list of tariffed goods to include all imports from China.