The fourth quarter got off to a weak start for U.S. stock investors on Monday, with financials, consumer staples and utilities pulling the S&P 500 lower.
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Major indexes have bounced between gains and losses in the past few days, with investors nervous about the outcome of a tight race for the White House ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
Big banks extended recent declines as investors worried about the stability of Deutsche Bank
U.S-listed shares of Deutsche slipped 0.85 percent as hopes faded of a swift deal with U.S. authorities over a multi-billion dollar penalty for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities.
"The feeling is there will be a negotiation lowering that penalty but it's certainly a bit of an overhang on the overall market," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
The S&P 500 financial index <.SPSY> declined 0.43 percent as Wells Fargo
Also weighing on investor sentiment was a plan announced by Britain on Sunday to start its separation from the European Union by March.
With yields on U.S. Treasury bonds up following stronger-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data for September, the interest-rate sensitive utility sector <.SPLRCU> fell 1.35 percent.
The consumer staples index declined 0.6 percent, with Procter & Gamble
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 0.3 percent to end the session at 18,253.85 points and the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.33 percent to 2,161.2.
The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> slipped 0.21 percent to 5,300.87 points.
About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, well below the 7.1 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
S&P 500 companies on average are expected to posts a 0.5 percent dip in third-quarter earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data. That would mark a fifth straight quarter of year-over-year earnings declines, in large part due to weak oil prices.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.40-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.40-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 77 new highs and 32 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Frances Kerry and Meredith Mazzilli)