Major stock markets slump in light trading

Specialist Gregg Maloney, left, and trader Tom Ferrigno

Specialist Gregg Maloney, left, and trader Tom Ferrigno work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday. (Feb. 8, 2013) (Credit: AP)

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U.S. stocks finished slightly lower Monday on the lightest volume trading day of 2013, as energy and retail shares underperformed and investors reassessed a rally that's lifted benchmark indexes 6 percent this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average never rose above its Friday close and ended down 21.73 points, to finish at 13,971.24.

On the Dow, shares of The Home Depot Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. led decliners, falling about 1 percent. Shares of blue-chips Microsoft Corp. and Pfizer Inc. gained about 1 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.06 percent to 1,517.01. The Nasdaq composite index fell 0.06 percent to 3,192.

Energy stocks led the decline even as crude futures traded higher Monday and refiners held onto recent gains.

"Largely absent any news, I'd say markets are working off an overbought phase and taking a pause," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

Stocks have been trading near five-year highs.

Shares of Google Inc. declined 0.38 percent after the Internet-search firm said late Friday that its chairman, Eric Schmidt, planned to sell nearly half his stake in the company. -- MCT

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