Earnings, oil prices drag Dow down
NRG Energy slumped after the company lowered its earnings forecast, leading other power companies lower. News Corp. fell after the media company posted an unexpected revenue decline due to weakness at its Australian newspapers. Energy stocks fell after oil dropped to a five-month low.
Winners included airlines. The gains were led by JetBlue Airways, after the Justice Department said it had cleared the way for American Airlines and US Airways to merge.
After closing at an all-time high on three of the previous four trading days, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 32.43 points, or 0.21 percent, to 15,750.67. The S&P 500 index dropped 4.20 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,767.69 points. The Nasdaq composite edged up 0.13 point to 3,919.92.
Energy stocks fell broadly. Pioneer Natural Resources, an oil exploration company, dropped $5.63, or 3 percent, to $182.70. Chevron lost $1.20, or 0.9 percent, to $120.
Stocks have climbed this year as the Federal Reserve kept up its $85 billion a month of bond purchases to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing and hiring.
Investors will be closely following the Senate Banking Committee's confirmation hearing for Janet Yellen on Thursday for clues about when the Fed may begin to scale back its economic stimulus. Yellen has been nominated to succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
In U.S. government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.78 percent from 2.75 percent Friday. The bond market was closed Monday for the Veterans Day holiday.
In commodities trading, the price of oil slumped as the market anticipated another increase in domestic supplies. Oil fell $2.10, or 2.2 percent, to $93.04 a barrel, its lowest price in five months.
Among other stocks making big moves, Dean Foods, a major milk producer, dropped $1.51, or 7.7 percent, to $18.20 after cutting its profit forecast.
JetBlue rose 47 cents, or 6.1 percent, to $8.16 after the government said it had reached a settlement with US Airways and American Airlines. Southwest Airlines rose 22 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $18.03.
D.R. Horton rose 85 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $18.91 after the home builder said that its net income rose 39 percent for its fiscal fourth quarter and that sales of new homes rose in October.