Stocks fell sharply on Thursday as it became clear that a trade meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would not happen before a key March deadline.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 220.77 points to 25,169.53 as Apple and DowDuPont led the decline. The S&P 500 pulled back 0.94 percent to close at 2,706.05, led lower by the energy and tech sectors. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, sliding about 1.2 percent to 7,288.35.
CNBC learned through a source that a meeting between the two leaders was "highly unlikely." China and the U.S. have until the start of March to strike a trade deal. Otherwise, additional tariffs on Chinese goods take effect. The source said a meeting between Xi and Trump could happen shortly after the deadline passes, but noted both sides have too much work ahead of them. Trump later confirmed he would not be meeting Xi before the deadline.
Earlier on Thursday, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said China and the U.S. were still far away on striking a trade deal. "We've got a pretty sizable distance to go here," Kudlow told Fox Business, referring to the ongoing trade talks between the two largest world economies. Kudlow added Trump is "optimistic with respect to a potential trade deal."