Investing.com - The Dow posted a triple-digit loss Monday as turmoil in Washington and trade tensions reined in investor appetite for stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 0.68%. The S&P 500 fell 0.35%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.08%.
Downward spirals in trade-sensitive sectors like materials and industrials symbolized investor fears Monday about an escalating U.S.-China trade war, which entered a new chapter as a fresh round of tariffs came into effect.
Boeing (NYSE:BA), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and 3M (NYSE:MMM), all of which have huge international exposure, fell about 1% each.
The United States' 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and China's tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods got underway Monday.
Investor fears on trade were further exacerbated after China hit back at President Donald Trump and his "America First" agenda, which Beijing argued was hurting international trade relationships.
Beyond trade, stocks were also knocked by fresh turmoil in Washington amid conflicting reports concerning the future of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the wake of a report that he considered possibly recording and removing Trump.
The White House late Monday said, however, that Rosenstein and Trump had had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories and will be meeting on Thursday.
Stocks fell sharply intraday after Axios said in a report, citing sources with direct knowledge, that Rosenstein had verbally resigned to Chief of Staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by Trump.
Still, losses were limited by gains in energy as oil prices surged to four-year highs after major oil producers stood pat on output plans at a key meeting over the weekend, refusing to give in to a recent demand to find a way to lower oil prices from Trump.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures for November delivery rose $1.30 to settle at $72.08 a barrel.
In the midst of selling pressure on Wall Street, investors found reason to cheer as ongoing merger activity offered some solace, though there was plenty of ugly to go around as General Electric (NYSE:GE) hit a nine-year low.
Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) stock closed down 10% after it agreed to buy Pandora in a stock deal valued at $3.5 billion.
Sirius XM's sizable holding of Pandora's preferred stock made the potential acquisition inevitable, though the deal was cheaper and arrived sooner than expected, according to JPMorgan.
GE (NYSE:GE) stock hit a low of $11.60 intraday on concerns about the company's power business.
Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:
ABIOMED (NASDAQ:ABMD), Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALXN) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.
Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS), Newell Brands (NYSE:NWL) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.