U.S. stocks closed little changed in a narrowly fluctuating session Monday, as investors tended to stay on the sidelines after both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 set all-time highs Friday.
The blue-chip Dow lost 9.82 points, or 0.06 percent, to 16,937. 26. The S&P 500 inched down 0.26 point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,962. 61. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.64 point, or 0.01 percent, to 4,368.68.
The Dow and the S&P 500 broke new ground on Friday after rising six days in a row to end the past week on a strong note, boosted by optimistic sentiment sparked by the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to an accommodative monetary policy. The Fed reaffirmed after its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy remains appropriate.
After continuous record run recently, investors seemed more likely to take a breather before making a big bet on stocks.
The market also shrugged off generally upbeat data from the country in the day which ushered in a busy week for economic calendar, with major indices trading below flatline in most of the trading session.
Financial data firm Markit said the U.S. manufacturing sector posted a robust and accelerated improvement in June.
The seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) registered 57.5 in June, up from 56.4 in May, which indicated the strongest upturn in overall business conditions since May 2010, Markit reported.
Existing-home sales heated up in May, up 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million, marking the highest monthly percentage gain since August 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. The latest housing figure topped market expectations and indicated that sales activity is rebounding after a lackluster first quarter.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of fear in the market, rose 1.20 percent to end at 10.98 on Monday.
In other markets, U.S. oil price pulled back after closing at a near-nine-month high Friday, as investors continued to ponder the latest development in Iraq.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery decreased 66 cents to settle at 106.17 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for August delivery shed 69 cents to close at 114.12 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange advanced on a soft dollar, with the most active gold contract for August delivery up 1.8 dollars, or 0.14 percent, to settle at 1,318.4 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar fell versus major currencies despite positive U. S. economic data. In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1. 3604 dollars from 1.3593 dollars of the previous session, and the dollar bought 101.90 Japanese yen, lower than 102.13 yen of the previous session.