The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a modest 7.
01 points (0.10 percent) to close at 7,216.97 after logging a stunning nine percent rise last week from 12-year lows.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 27.48 points (1.92 percent) to 1,404.02 and the broad-market Standard & Poor\’s 500 index shed 2.66 points (0.35 percent) to 753.89 as investors of mostly financial stocks locked in profits.
“The widespread pursuit of profits acted as a virtual vortex during the final hour of trading, leading the major market indices to finish lower for the first time in five sessions,” said Andrea Kramer of Schaeffer\’s Investment Research.
The Dow blue-chip index saw an early gain of 167 points evaporate. Traders said profit-taking was inevitable as the financial sector had surged almost 40 percent last week.
“The sector showed continued strength in the early going and even drove the broader market higher, but with conditions looking overbought, participants decided to take some money out of the game,” analysts at Briefing深圳桑拿, said.
The market turnaround, according to Wachovia Securities chief market strategist Al Goldman, coincided with news from American Express.
The credit card company reported higher delinquency rates for February, and shares closed down 43 cents at 12.60 dollars, he said.
Analysts cautioned against expectations of any sustained bull run following the rally last week. Paul Nolte, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates, said he remained concerned that the rush to call “the bottom” might well be premature.
“As a result, we may pull back further on equity holdings expecting lower prices in the weeks ahead,” he said Monday.
Bob Dickey, a technical analyst at RBC Wealth Management, said that based on his analysis, the outlook for the week was for “more rally strength with bouts of profit taking along the way.
“Whether this is all a bounce in a bear market or a real move up from the bottom remains to be seen, but with the market having gone through a five-month bottoming process that included three distinct bottoming moves, we are more inclined to believe that a major market low has been made,” he said.
The market mood brightened in early trading Monday after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke in a television interview over the weekend said that the US recession would probably come to an end this year.
Other events over the weekend also sweetened sentiment on Wall Street.
Finance ministers from the Group of 20 emerging and developed nations vowed coordinated and sustained efforts to help stem a massive financial crisis at a London meeting while the OPEC cartel decided against cutting output further that could have sharply raised fuel prices.
Among financial stocks, Citigroup sank 30.90 percent to 2.33 dollars while Bank of America was down 7.29 percent to 6.18 dollars.
Among technology stocks, Cisco Systems fell 0.39 percent to 15.45 dollars after it announced plans to claim more of the data-center technology market, potentially ramping up the competition between the networking giant and long-term partners Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
Cisco\’s plans also saw PC maker Dell stock dropping 5.02 percent to 8.90 dollars.
The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond rose to 2.951 percent from 2.885 percent Friday and that on the 30-year bond increased to 3.765 percent from 3.672 percent.
Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.