Stocks fell Monday as General Electric Co. retreated from a six-year high, leading industrial companies lower while investors awaited this week's corporate earnings reports.
At the close on Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 9.6 points, about 0.5 percent, to 2,092.4. The Nasdaq composite slipped almost 0.2 percent, falling 7.7 points to 4,988.3, erasing an earlier gain that took it above 5,000 for the first time in three weeks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 80.6 points, about 0.5 percent, to 17,977.
The Nasdaq composite climbed earlier Monday to within 25 points of its record. Last month the index closed above 5,000 three times, its first forays past that level since March 2000. It stalled within 7 points of its dot-com-era record on March 20, before ending the month down 2.5 percent. It has rebounded about 2 percent in April after posting its ninth consecutive quarterly gain, its longest streak ever.
The Dow traded Friday within 1.3 percent of a March record, while the S&P 500 pulled within 1 percent of its record. With valuations near their highest level in more than five years, investors are looking to corporate profits for further clues on the strength of the U.S. bull market that hasn't seen a 10 percent correction since 2011.
"There's a lack of economic numbers today, so investors are gearing up for earnings season," said analyst Stephen Carl, principal and head equity trader at Manhattan-based Williams Capital Group LP. "It remains to be seen if good economic numbers and positive earnings reports will fuel things in a positive vein over the short-term."