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US stocks open lower on US-China trade war fears, Dow down 1.5%

[NEW YORK] Major US stock indices fell more than one per cent early Monday, joining a global selloff as a steep drop in the Chinese yuan exacerbated US-China trade war worries.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 500 points, or 1.9 per cent, at 25,983.81.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 2.0 per cent to 2,874.83, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 2.5 per cent to 7,801.37.

China's currency tumbled below 7.0 against the dollar, which investors see as a key threshold in currency value, only days after US President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on US$300 billion in additional Chinese imports.

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Mr Trump's tariff announcement sparked a selloff that led to the S&P 500's worst week so far in 2019.

In a statement on Monday morning, the People's Bank of China said the exchange rate against the US dollar had been "affected by unilateralism and trade protectionism measures and the imposition of tariff increases on China."

Losses were broad-based but included several companies with significant China businesses, including Apple, which shed 4.1 per cent, Boeing and General Motors, both of which lost 2.3 per cent and Caterpillar, which shed 2.0 per cent.