Wall Street was began the week on the back foot with the three main American indices slipping as the ‘sequester’ came into effect.
The sequence of arbitrary budgets is now being executed at the US treasury.
And investor sentiment has turned sour and the rally of the first two months of 2013 is fast becoming a memory.
China has also given investors some cause for concern as it emerged that in February its services industry expanded at its slowest pace since September, sparking renewed fears over its waning growth.
The Dow Jones shed 0.25% to 14,054, meanwhile both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite were down by a similar margin. Industrial equipment firm Catepillar and mining giant Alcoa were among the biggest losers on the open falling 1.5% and 1.2% respectively.
On this side of the Atlantic stocks made a drab start to the week as well and the FTSE 100 was down 35 points or 0.56% lower at 6,343.