NEW YORK – Stocks posted a modest decline Monday as a weakening U.S. dollar and a mixed batch of first-quarter earnings reports prompted unsettled investors to cash in on last week's gains.
Disappointment over declining profit at copier maker Xerox Corp. (XRX) and a reduced 2007 forecast from online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. overshadowed upbeat results from Dow Jones industrial Caterpillar Inc. (CAT). The market was also assessing a possible sale of Cendant Corp.'s (CD) travel business.
The Dow dropped 11.13, or 0.1 percent, to 11,336.32, after sliding as much as 41 points early in the session. The Dow ended Friday at its highest level since early January 2000.
Broader stock indicators also finished lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.17, or 0.24 percent, to 1,308.11, and the Nasdaq composite index declined 9.48, or 0.4 percent, to 2,333.38.
A steep drop in crude futures gave investors some relief following oil's recent climb to a record $75 a barrel. The market's trends suggest oil prices will stabilize or retreat further in the coming weeks, said Rick Pendergraft, an equity trader for Schaeffer's Investment Research.
"Looking at some of the data, I can see oil moving sideways or maybe lower," said Pendergraft, who added that many oil-related stocks are overbought. "To me, it was everybody jumping on board at the same time. They didn't think $75 could be taken out."
Persistent worries about Iran's nuclear arms program nonetheless kept the market on edge. A barrel of light crude sank $1.84 to settle at $73.33 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.