NEW YORK (AP) - A blistering July rally on the stock market appears to be fading.
Stocks edged lower Monday as investors waited for a series of major economic reports due out this week. A string of big-name merger deals wasn't enough to push indexes higher.
On Wednesday the government will report its first estimate of U.S. economic growth for the second quarter, and on Friday it will publish its monthly jobs survey.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 6.32 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,685.33.
Seven of the 10 sectors in the index fell. The declines were led by energy companies and banks.
The benchmark index is still up 4.9 percent in July, and the S&P 500 is on track to have its best month since January. The index jumped this month, climbing to an all-time high July 22, after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke assured investors that the Fed wouldn't cut its stimulus before the economy was ready. The central bank is buying $85 billion a month to help keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing and hiring.
Stocks may struggle to add to their gains, given that expectations for the economy remain modest, said Scott Wren, a senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 36.86 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,521.97. The Nasdaq composite dropped 14.02 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,599.14.
Investors will also be focusing on corporate earnings this week.
Just over half of the companies in the S&P 500 index have reported earnings for the second quarter. Analysts are currently forecasting earnings growth of 4 percent for the April-through-June period, according to S&P Capital IQ. That's the slowest rate of growth in three quarters.