Stocks edged lower in afternoon trading Monday after briefly approaching the record highs they reached a month ago.
The quiet opening to the week follows several choppy weeks as investors continue to gauge the economy's recovery and the risks rising inflation. Wall Street faces a relatively light week of economic data, though investors will get more information on how much consumer prices rose last month.
The S&P 500 fell 0.2% as of 2:44 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 148 points, or 0.4%, to 34,608 and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%. Small-company stocks far outpaced the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index rose 1.3%
“The market is treading water right now and waiting for another catalyst to move higher,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
Technology stocks, banks and industrial companies helped pull the broader market lower. Health care companies made solid gains. Moderna rose 7.7% after it sought a regulatory authorization in Europe to let adolescents receive its COVID-19 vaccine.
Treasury yields were stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 1.57%. Crude oil prices were little changed.
Cruise line operators made some of the strongest gains after several companies announced or confirmed plans to start sailing again this summer. The industry essentially shut down during the virus pandemic. Norwegian Cruise Line rose 2.6% and Carnival rose 1%.
Corporate buyout plans moved several stocks. U.S. Concrete jumped 29.1% after construction materials company Vulcan Materials said it would buy the company. Design software company Autodesk fell 2.7% after announcing plans to pursue a buyout of Altium.
Investors will get another glimpse into the impact of inflation on Thursday with the Labor Department's consumer price report for May. Prices on everything from food to clothes and housing has been rising as the economy recovers.
Investors and economists are concerned that a steep rise in prices could crimp the recovery and prompt the Federal Reserve to withdraw some of its support for the economy such as keeping interest rates ultra-low and buying bonds.
Markets in Europe were mostly higher, while Asian markets were mixed.