New York - Worries that the West will take military action in Syria after a chemical weapons attack sent US stocks lower in early trade Tuesday.
The fall traced losses on European and Asian markets, which came after US Secretary of State John Kerry made clear on Monday that the US would hold Damascus accountable for the gas attack that killed hundreds.
An hour into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 109.82 points (0.73 percent) at 14,836.64.
The broader S&P 500 index fell 16.52 (1.00 percent) to 1,640.26, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was off 44.48 (1.22 percent) to 3,613.09.
“Investors are spooked over a possible US retaliation for Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons,” said Karee Venema of Schaeffer's Investment Research.
Losses were across the board among leading companies, with Comcast standing out among gainers, up 0.9 percent.
Banks led the losers: Citigroup was down 1.7 percent, Bank of America 1.3 percent, and Wells Fargo 2.1 percent.
Industrial powerhouse General Electric dropped 1.8 percent.
Jeweler Tiffany's shares pushed up 0.4 percent after the company boosted its forecast for the rest of the year, reporting improved revenues and margins for its second-quarter earnings.
Chinese software company Qihoo 360 Technology continued to power higher on its strong second-quarter results, adding another 1.4 percent to Monday's 7.8 percent climb.
Bond prices rose for a second straight day.
The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond fell to 2.76 percent from 2.80 percent Monday, while the 30-year dropped to 3.75 percent from 3.78 percent.
Bond prices and yields move inversely. - Sapa-AFP