With under an hour to go to the close on Wall Street, the Dow was trading down 0.93% or 139 points at 14,807. Losses were broad, with the S&P 500 plunging 1.53% to 1631.5 and the NASDAQ 100 falling 2% to 3060.5.
Stock prices came under pressure as worries mount that the US is preparing to launch an attack against Syria in retaliation for the suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians in Damascus last week.
The stock market has already been suffering from investors becoming nervy over the possibility of a reduction in stimulus from the Fed, so a ramping up of tensions has almost inevitably resulted in these precipitous falls.
The ‘risk-off’ sentiment has been further reinforced by an estimate from the US Treasury that the US government will hit its statutory debt limit in the middle of October, which raises the spectre of more political wrangling between the Republicans and Democrats.
Economic data released tomorrow includes pending home sales and weekly oil inventory data from the US Energy Department.