The summer slide in stock prices continued Monday as the markets declined for the fourth consecutive session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 70.73 points to 15,010.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 13.69 points to 3,589.09 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 9.77 points to 1.646.06.
There is little in the way of economic news again this week. However, more corporate quarterly earnings reports will be released. Saks (NYSE: SKS) was the latest retailer to report weak sales in the past three months after similar reports from Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), Macy's (NYSE: M) and Nordstrom (NYSE: JWM).
Commodity prices were slightly lower. Gold fell $5.30 to $1,365.70 an ounce. Oil was down 36 cents to $107.10 a barrel.
Stocks fell after energy shares dropped and Treasury yields jumped to a two-year high as investors awaited signals this week on the Federal Reserve’s stimulus plans.
Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) tumbled 4.6 percent, leading energy stocks to the biggest decline among 10 groups in the S&P 500 as crude prices fell. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) gained 1.7 percent after Piper Jaffray Cos. (NYSE: PJC) raised its rating on the shares.
About 5.3 billion shares exchanged hands on U.S. exchanges Monday, 16 percent below the three-month average. The benchmark 10-year yield jumped to 2.88 percent.
The S&P 500 declined 2.1 percent last week and the Dow average lost 2.2 percent, the largest weekly drop in 14 months, amid speculation the Fed will pare its bond-purchase program as the economy recovers.
The Federal Open Market Committee will release minutes of its July 30 to 31 meeting on Wednesday. Investors and analysts will be looking for clues on when central bankers plan to reduce their $85 billion in monthly asset purchases. Officials will begin to trim buying at their Sept. 17 to 18 meeting, according to 65 percent of economists surveyed by Bloomberg on Aug. 9 to 13.
Central bankers and policymakers will meet in Jackson Hole, Wyo., from Thursday to Saturday to discuss the global economy and monetary policy.
Fed stimulus helped propel the S&P 500 up more than 150 percent from its bear-market low in 2009. Benchmark indexes reached record highs on Aug. 2. The S&P 500 has dropped 3.7 percent since then, and is trading below its average price over the past 50 days.
Some 41 S&P 500 stocks had their 14-day relative-strength index below 30 at the end of last week, the most since Nov. 16, Bloomberg data show. RSI measures the degree to which gains and losses outpace each other and some analysts who watch charts to predict market moves consider a reading lower than 30 as indicating the stock has fallen too far too fast.
Of the 464 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far, 72 percent have topped analysts’ estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About 55 percent have exceeded revenue projections.
Energy shares had the largest decline Monday, dropping 1.5 percent. Oil also slid because demand from U.S. refineries is declining as the peak gasoline-use period comes to an end.
Apache fell 4.6 percent to $75.37, leading declines in energy stocks. The company extended a five-day tumble as Stifel Nicolaus & Co. (NYSE: SF) cut its rating on the shares to a “hold” from “buy.”
Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) slumped 4.3 percent to $32.61, the lowest since May. Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) declined 2.7 percent to $34.47.
Cobalt International Energy Inc. (NYSE: CIE) fell 15 percent to $24.90 after the oil exploration company said it found no commercial hydrocarbons in its Ardennes well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Financial shares tumbled 1.3 percent. Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE: GNW) fell 4.5 percent to $12.02. Invesco Ltd. lost 1.9 percent to $31.20.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) slid 2.7 percent to $51.83. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s anti-bribery unit is investigating whether the bank hired the children of Chinese officials to help its business, The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) reported.
Intel gained 1.7 percent to $22.28. Piper Jaffray changed its rating on the shares to “neutral” from “underweight” and raised its price target to $22 from $20.
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) rose 1.1 percent to $507.74. The shares have gained 12 percent in the last six trading days. Billionaire Carl Icahn said Aug. 13 that he had acquired a large position in the company.
Health care companies rose 0.2 percent for the only advance among 10 S&P 500 groups as a group. Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG) gained 1.8 percent to $384.95. Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) increased 0.8 percent to $57.34.
Edwards Group (Nasdaq: EVAC) soared 18 percent to $10 after Atlas Copco, the world’s largest maker of air compressors, agreed to pay $1.2 billion for the British vacuum-pump maker. Shareholders of the Crawley, England-based company will receive as much as $10.50 a share, depending on financial results for this year, Atlas Copco said in a statement Monday.