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"Cyclical sectors like technology, financials and industrials led markets lower, while defensive areas like utilities and real estate weathered the storm best".

At 2 p.m, ET, The S&P 500 index slid 73 points, or 2.7 per cent, to 2,717.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 197.31 points, or 1.29 per cent, at 15,077.67. Eastern Time. The Dow plunged 730 points, or 2.8 percent, to 25,095, more than erasing its 488-point gain over the previous two trading days.

Mr Trump undermined fragile investor confidence in his 90-day truce with Beijing, which prompted a Wall Street relief rally on Monday, by branding... -China agreement faltered after a series of confusing and conflicting comments from President Donald Trump and some senior officials. The Standard & Poor's 500 slid 3.2 percent to 2,700.06.

Wall Street's Dow Jones index dropped by just under 800 points, or 3.1 per cent, at 25,027.

The Nasdaq composite lost 240 points, or 3.2 percent, to 7,201. Tech companies, banks and exporters including Boeing and Caterpillar all declined. "All this macro-economic uncertainty is clouding the 2019 earnings outlook, leading to increasingly violent equity swings as investors try to handicap what 2019 will look like", Alec Young, managing director of Global Markets Research, FTSE Russell, told ABC News.

On Tuesday, President Trump has declared himself a "Tariff Man" in tweeting about the state of progress with China, doubling down the threat to raise tariffs on Chinese goods if a deal isn't solidified. That made the weekend agreement seem even less likely to produce a long-lasting settlement.

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Meanwhile, markets also got a bit of a jolt Tuesday from remarks by John Williams, president of the Fed's NY regional bank.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.94 percent.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Positive sentiment from the China-U.S. trade war truce dissipated quickly", said Eugene Leow and Radhika Rao of DBS Group in a report.

"Today's move feels like the market is a scorned lover. Concerns were also compounded by increasing news narrative on inverted curves and risks of a recession".

Last week, stocks jumped when the Federal Reserve's chairman indicated the central bank could slow the pace of interest rate increases. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.6 percent to $53.27 per barrel in NY. Japan's Nikkei 225 index gave up 2.4 percent and the Kospi in South Korea lost 0.8 percent.

The energy sector dropped 1.3 per cent as USA crude prices pared gains.

The dollar weakened to 113 yen from 113.69 yen late Monday.