This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Stocks Slip From Highs in Thin Trading

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages slipped Monday as investors took some profits after recent strong gains in equities and watched for headlines from a meeting of eurozone finance ministers and developments on the "sequestration" talks in Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 22 points, or 0.16%, at 13,971. The blue-chip index began the session up 6.5% this year.

Breadth finished negative, with losers overshadowing winners 16 to 13. The biggest laggards in the Dow were Home Depot (HD), UnitedHealth (UNH) , Boeing (BA) and IBM (IBM).

Bank of America (BAC), Pfizer (PFE) and Microsoft (MSFT) were among the Dow components that were trading higher.

The S&P 500 lost about 1 point to 1,517. The index has risen for each of past six weeks.

The Nasdaq was lower by 2 points to 3,192, but still near a 12-year high of 3,200.

Sector action was mixed in the broader market, as basic materials, energy, capital goods and health care shares lost ground. The transportation, consumer-cyclical utilities and technology sectors edged higher.

John Burke, financial adviser at Burke Financial Strategies, said he sees long-term benefits in having the sequestration deadline kick in at the beginning of March.

"The biggest concern we have here is that the government is [faced with an] enormous budget deficit and that's forcing the Federal Reserve to try to compensate," Burke said.

The Fed, he noted, is supposed to be focusing on monetary policy only. "It never had to worry about the unemployment rate before ... they're printing money to try to keep this economy afloat, and now Japan's doing the same thing, so we have to start currency wars. These are things that have never been done before."

"We're worried that about the long-term consequences ... certainly it would be better if they could reduce the budget deficit."

On the eurozone finance ministers meeting taking place in Brussels, Burke said he hopes the officials will seriously discuss long-term solutions for the region's economic problems that they have so far avoided through "little solutions," including jobs growth in southern Europe.

Market volumes totaled a mere 2.6 billion shares on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.54 billion on the Nasdaq on the heels of a snowstorm that hit the Northeast over the weekend and as Asian markets remained closed for public holidays.

Decliners outweighed advancers by a ratio of 1.2-to-1 on the Big Board and incrementally on the Nasdaq.

Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. on Sunday debated higher taxes as part of a proposal to avert $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, the so-called sequestration, that kicks in March 1.

Euro-area finance ministers are meeting Monday and Tuesday in Brussels to talk about potential aid for Cyprus, an update on how Greece is faring with its second rescue program, and proposals for direct bank bailouts by the region's permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism.

Gold for April delivery plunged $17.80 to settle at $1,649.10 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March crude oil futures finished up $1.31 at $97.03 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 2/32 to dilute the yield to 1.959%. The dollar added 0.15%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Google's (GOOG) executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, plans to sell more than 40% of his shares in the Internet search giant. Google shares lost 0.38%.

AMR (AAMRQ.PK), the parent of American Airlines, and US Airways (LCC) are in final negotiations on a merger that could be announced this week, according to reports. US Airways shares sank 2%. AMR shares declined 0.68%.

Novo Nordisk (NVO), the Danish drugmaker, said the Food and Drug Administration rejected its applications for approval of once-a-day insulin drugs to treat diabetes. Novo Nordisk's ADRs plunged 14%.

At the same time, Sanofi (SNY) ADRs increased 3.2% as Novo Nordisk's problem is being viewed as a positive for Sanofi's rival Lantus treatment.

BlackBerry (BBRY) shares slid 4.6% as AllThingsD said the company lost another big enterprise customer. The report said home-improvement retailer Home Depot (HD) is transitioning some 10,000 employees to Apple's (AAPL) iPhone.

Apple is reportedly experimenting with the design of wristwatch-like device that would run on the same platform as the iPhone. Apple shares were up 1%.

Nike (NKE) shares rose 1.2% after the athletic apparel company was upgraded at JPMorgan Chase on high expectations for the company's earnings growth amid optimism over its product line-up.

AOL (AOL) shares jumped 7.4% after the stock was upgraded to "outperform" from "sector perform" at RBC Capital.

Wendy's (WEN) shares gained 3.6% after Barron's said the stock could rise by as much as 40% thanks to its revamped menu items and turnaround efforts.

American Capital Mortgage Investment (MTGE) shares added 4.4% after the real estate investment trust booked better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

-- Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,912.11 -70.48 -0.42%
S&P 500 1,969.95 -8.96 -0.45%
NASDAQ 4,442.6980 -2.2110 -0.05%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs