U.S. stocks fell for a third straight session on Monday to kick off the week, as investors grew cautious ahead of earnings season and continued to pull money out of tech shares.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 166.84 points, or 1.02 percent, to 16,245.87. The S&P 500 lost 20.05 points, or 1.08 percent, to 1,845.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 47.97 points, or 1.16 percent, to 4,079.75.
Following a general dip in global stock markets Monday, the U.S. market dropped as investors tended to take profit off the table, waiting for more evidence of a strengthening U.S. economy from the first-quarter corporate earnings season.
Investors will pay close attention to it to see how companies fared amid severe winter weather. Aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. will release first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, followed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Company, whose results will come out on Friday.
Latest data from Thomson Reuters showed first-quarter earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 1.1 percent from a year ago, while revenues are forecast to increase 2.8 percent from last year.
Wall Street had staged a mixed picture recently, with both the Dow and the S&P 500 setting record highs before turning lower at the close on Friday, and the tech-rich Nasdaq having dived roughly 6 percent from its recent high.
The Nasdaq slumped 2.6 percent on Friday, marking its second- worst single-day selloff of the year.
Momentum stocks, mainly technology and biotech companies that led the market's bullish run last year, have been under pressure recently, as investors have been adjusting their positions, fleeing from momentum stocks to intrinsic-valued stocks amid tech- bubble concerns.
With a light economic calendar, investors are also expecting minutes of the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting due out Wednesday.
The three major indices finished last week in mixed territory. The blue-chip Dow and the broader S&P recorded weekly gains after repeatedly setting record highs, while the Nasdaq ended the week lower.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, rose 11.53 percent to end at 15.57 Monday.
In other markets, oil prices fell as two of the four oil ports occupied by Libyan rebels are expected to reopen.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery moved down 70 cents to settle at 100.44 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery lost 90 cents to close at 105.82 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped, as speculative investors kept withdrawing from gold, with the most active gold contract for June delivery down 5. 2 dollars to settle at 1,298.3 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar slipped against most major currencies, continuously affected by the worse-than-expected U.S. employment report for March.
In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3739 dollars from 1.3703 dollars of the previous session, while the British pound rose to 1.6608 dollars from 1.6579 dollars