Investors looked warily at forecasts for poor U.S. corporate earnings and weaker growth in Asia and decided there wasn't much reason to buy stocks.
The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 26.50 points to close at 13,583.65 points Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.05 points to 1,455.88 and the Nasdaq composite lost 23.84 points to 3,112.35.
Companies in the S&P 500 index are expected to post an overall decline in profits for the first time in 11 quarters, according to FactSet. The third-quarter earnings season starts on Tuesday when aluminum maker Alcoa releases its results.
Tuesday also marks the five-year anniversary of the record high closes of the Dow and the S&P 500. The S&P, a benchmark tracked by many mutual funds, is currently about 7 percent below its record high.