Wall Street unable to hold onto gains
NEW YORK » Wall Street retreated yesterday, taking a break from last week's big advances, as financial stocks fell amid fresh concerns about soured loans.
With little fresh data to go on yesterday, investor enthusiasm weakening by midsession and sectors from banks to homebuilders showed declines, while technology stocks faring better.
Stocks began to give up their gains after the International Monetary Fund warned the credit upheaval hurting international financial markets would likely be "protracted" and dampen growth of the global economy.
While its stock didn't fall sharply, General Motors Corp. shares lost ground after the United Auto Workers began its first nationwide strike during auto contract negotiations since 1976.
"I think you're seeing some profit taking after last week's rally," said Scott Fullman, director of investment strategy at Israel A. Englander & Co. "You have consumer confidence that is something being closely watched, and you're seeing a general end of quarter nervousness."
The Dow Jones industrials fell 61.13, or 0.44 percent, to 13,759.06.
Broader indicators fell, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index declining 8.02, or 0.53 percent, to 1,517.73, while the Nasdaq composite index lost 3.27, or 0.12 percent, to 2,667.95.
Bonds edged higher, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.62 percent from 4.63 percent late Friday. Treasury prices have fallen since last week's rate cut as investors moved back into stocks.
The dollar fell against major currencies, hitting a fresh low against the euro, and gold prices rose.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 7.31, or 0.90 percent, 805.80.
Declining issues beat out advancers 5-to-3 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.35 billion shares compared with 1.27 billion shares traded Friday.
Oil prices fell as a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico dissipated without causing damage to key oil and gas infrastructure. A barrel of light, sweet crude settled down 67 cents at $80.95 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Economic data expected to roll out this week could give investors a better sense of whether to expect more of the interest rate cuts that touched off last week's rally. Findings due today include reports on existing home sales for August and the Richmond Fed's regional survey.
Among financial stocks, Citigroup Inc. fell 92 cents to $46.59 while JPMorgan Chase & Co. declined 79 cents to $46.34 following the IMF concerns about prolonged tightness in the credit markets and its contention that regulators should tighten their oversight of financial institutions to reign in some of the newer debt products that have in part allowed easy access to credit in recent years.
In corporate news, GM fell 20 cents to $34.74 after thousands of UAW workers walked off the job as negotiations between the union and the automaker remained stymied -- mainly over the issue of job security.