The trade news overshadowing the annual Federal Reserve symposium in Jackson Hole, at which Fed chairman Jerome Powell wants to give a highly anticipated speech at 10 am ET.
Stock futures, which were initially up, dropped on the reports of Chinese tariffs. All three major indexes opened in the red. Dow ( INDU ) traded more than 100 points, or 0.4%, lower, while the S & P 500 ( SPX ) and the Nasdaq Composite ( COMP ) are down 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively.
US oil prices fell in response, dropping 2.6% to $ 53.96 a barrel.
The US dollar, measured by the ICE US Dollar Index, which up 0.1
%. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond was slightly lower at 1.6029%.
The market's volatility gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index, or Vix, which is close to 8%, and CNN's Fear and Greed index indicated 'fear'.
Prior to the tariff news, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard talked about monetary policy as the day in Jackson Hole is getting under way.
The inversion, meaning shorter-dated bonds yield more than longer-dated bonds, has been a historic recession indicator.
Investors are buying Powell's speech for details on the Fed's future policy path.
In the minutes from last month's central bank meeting, released Wednesday, the July rate cut described a mid-cycle adjustment rather than the beginning of an easing cycle.