U.S. Stocks Close Lower On Inflation Concern

By Wallace WitkowskiMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

U.S. stocks closed lower Monday as investors took more defensive positions on warnings of higher inflation and oil prices declined. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 51.98 points, or 0.3%, to close at 18,086.40, as shares of McDonald's Corp and Nike Inc. weighed on the average. The S&P 500 Index closed down 6.48 points, or 0.3%, at 2,126.50, it's lowest close since July 7, as the consumer-discretionary and energy sectors declined, while defensive plays like utilities led gainers. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 14.34 points, or 0.3%, to close at 5,199.82. Both Bank of America analysts and bond guru Jeffrey Gundlach warned that investors are ill-prepared for higher inflation. Oil prices settled down 0.8% at $49.94 a barrel, the first sub-$50 close since Oct. 7.

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