NEW YORK – U.S. stocks closed lower Monday as investors locked in profits on some of April's big gainers, such as Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), at the end of Wall Street's strongest month in three years.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 58.03 points, or 0.44 percent, at 13,062.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 11.70 points, or 0.78 percent, at 1,482.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 32.12 points, or 1.26 percent, at 2,525.09.
The Dow ended modestly lower, while the Nasdaq fell more than 1 percent. Even so, the S&P and Nasdaq Composite were each up more than 4 percent in April while the Dow rose nearly 6 percent and topped the 13,000 mark for the first time, as companies' quarterly results overwhelmingly beat analysts' lowered profit expectations.
Among some of the heaviest decliners late on Monday were blue chip manufacturers, several of which had blown away Wall Street forecasts for earnings and had raised their profit outlooks.
Caterpillar stock, down 1.6 percent on the session, added 5.8 percent over the month. Honeywell International Inc. (HON), which slipped 1.3 percent late on Monday, rose by nearly 18 percent in the month.
"We did make a new high for the month, so it's OK to have these sort of healthy pull-backs. What you're seeing is people locking in a few gains," said Kevin Kruszenski, head of listed trading at KeyBanc Capital Markets in Cleveland. "But I think the focus this week is going to continue to be earnings and a lot of economic data."
Earlier, the Dow industrials rose to an intraday record of 13,162.06, extending the record-setting streak that sent the blue-chip index past the 13,000 mark for the first time last Wednesday.
Investors were cheered by stronger-than-expected profits on Monday from companies such as consumer electronics retailer RadioShack Corp., conglomerate Loews Corp. and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., the world's largest chewing-gum maker.
RadioShack stock was up 4.9 percent to $29.07, Loew's stock gained 1.5 percent to $47.32 and Wrigley shares added 7 percent to $58.88.
On the economic front, investors received reassuring news on inflation, as the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge remained unchanged in March, compared with economists' expectations of a small rise.
Shares of New York-based International Securities Exchange shot up after the board of directors accepted a $2.8 billion takeover offer from Deutsche Boerse, the companies said on Monday. Shares of ISE, the largest U.S. equity options market, were up 45.9 percent at $66.69.
Trading was active on the NYSE, with about 1.71 billion shares changing hands, below last year's estimated daily average of 1.84 billion, while on Nasdaq about 2.1 billion shares traded, above last year's daily average of 2.02 billion.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones by a ratio of more than 8 to 3 on the NYSE and by 7 to 3 on Nasdaq.