Published January 07, 2013
NEW YORK – U.S. stocks fell on Monday as traders cashed in recent gains that lifted the S&P 500 to a five-year high on Friday and awaited Tuesday's start of the fourth-quarter earnings season.
Last week was the best for U.S. stocks in more than a year as a budget deal and economic data boosted investor confidence.
Investors will likely turn their attention to the fourth-quarter earnings season that kicks off this week. Earnings are expected to be only slightly better than the third-quarter's lackluster results and analysts' current estimates are down sharply from what they were in October.
"We have a cautious market entering fourth-quarter earnings season," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. "I think it's going to be a disappointing one this time around."
Financial shares will be in focus a day after global regulators known as the Basel Committee gave banks four more years and greater flexibility to build up cash buffers, scaling back moves that aimed to help prevent another financial crisis.
"Basel giving banks four more years to get their act together will be good" for stocks, Cardillo said.
Bank of America shares rose 0.5 percent to $12.17 after hitting their highest since May 2011 as it reached a settlement with Fannie Mae worth roughly $11.6 billion to resolve agency mortgage repurchase claims.
The bank also entered into agreements with Nationstar Mortgage Holdings and Walter Investment Management to sell about $306 billion of residential mortgage servicing rights.
Nationstar rose 16.8 percent to $38.80 and Walter Investment added 7 percent to $47.13.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 63.59 points, or 0.47 percent, to 13,371.62. The S&P 500 dropped 6.53 points, or 0.45 percent, to 1,459.94. The Nasdaq Composite lost 12.56 points, or 0.41 percent, to 3,089.09.
Walt Disney Co started an internal cost cutting review several weeks ago that may include layoffs at its studio and other units, three people with knowledge of the effort told Reuters. Disney shares fell 1.4 percent to $51.46.
Video-streaming service Netflix Inc shares gained 4 percent to $99.78 after it said it will carry previous seasons of some popular shows produced by Time Warner's Warner Bros Television.
Amazon.com shares hit their highest price ever at $269.22 after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock. Shares were up 3.6 percent at $268.50.
Roche's chairman was quoted as saying the Swiss pharmaceutical group is no longer considering a bid for the U.S. gene-sequencing company Illumina . Illumina shares were off 8 percent at $50.20.
Major U.S. technology companies could miss estimates for fourth-quarter earnings as budget worries likely led some corporate clients to tighten their belts last month.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)