NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The major U.S. equity averages finished lower Monday as the euphoria about the Federal Reserve's bold QE3 stimulus plan began to wear off.
Worries about the euro zone also soured investor sentiment as European Union leaders made little progress during weekend meetings to discuss the details of addressing the region's sovereign debt problems. A weak read on manufacturing activity in New York state was also a headwind.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 40 points, or 0.30%, to close at 13,553. The blue-chip index, which began the session up more than 11% so far in 2012, snapped a four-day winning streak.
Within the Dow, losers outnumbered winners, 18 to 11 with Microsoft (MSFT) finishing unchanged. The biggest percentage decliners were Alcoa (AA), Bank of America (BAC - Get Report), Boeing (BA), and Cisco (CSCO).The big banks were under pressure following a New York Times report that regulators plan to investigate whether several major U.S. banks failed to monitor transactions properly, allowing criminals to launder money. In addition to Bank of America's weakness, JPMorgan (JPM) lost 0.91% and Citigroup (C) was down 2.1%. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal agency that oversees the biggest banks, is leading the money-laundering investigation, according to the newspaper. The report said the OCC could soon take action against JPMorgan, and that the agency is also proving B of A. U.S. Banks Subject of Money-Laundering Probe: Report Dow gainers included AT&T (T), Merck (MRK), and Pfizer (PFE). AT&T shares got a lift after the communications giant said sales of Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) new iPhone 5 during the weekend ranked as its most successful iPhone product launch ever. The stock tacked on 0.91%. The S&P 500 was down nearly 5 points, or 0.31%, to settle at 1461. The Nasdaq dropped more than 5 points, or 0.17%, to finish at 3179. The weakest sectors in the broad market were basic materials, consumer cyclicals, and capital goods. Health care and consumer non-cyclicals finished in the green. Volume totaled 3.34 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.49 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners topped gainers by a 2-to-1 ratio on the Big Board and 1.5-to-1 on the Nasdaq. The major U.S. equity averages finished with solid gains Friday, capping a stellar week as the risk-on trade flourished thanks to QE3. The Dow finished the week up 2.15%, rising for the eighth time in the last 10 weeks and sixth time in the last seven sessions.