Stocks Close on a Whimper

Stocks finished marginally lower after personal spending increased by more than economists expected.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Following a choppy, listless trading session, the major averages ended Monday marginally lower after getting an earlier boost from stronger-than-expected personal spending growth in May.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

declined by 5 points, or nearly 0.1%, at 10,139. The

S&P 500

lost 2 points, or 0.2%, at 1075 and the

Nasdaq

slipped by 3 points, or 0.1%, at 2221.

Earlier in the day, LPL Financial Chief Investment Officer Burt White attributed some of the session's sluggishness to May personal consumption expenditure price growth of 0.3%.

"The whisper number was that we would have seen some bigger inflationary pressures on inputs, especially in commodities and it came in very tame," White said. He added, "Basic materials, oil and industrials maybe got a little ahead of themselves, which is why we're seeing them sell off a little today."

White said oil prices had also priced in expectations that tropical storms would have had a bigger impact than they did.

"The underlying good news is that the consumer is hanging in there a little better than people thought," White said, adding, "if we see a modest recovery in both consumer spending and business spending, then we believe we'll get GDP growth of 2% to 3%, and that will help stocks move higher."

The Supreme Court

ruled against the provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation that created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board because it violates the U.S. Constitution's separation-of-powers principle since board members aren't appointed by the president.

Earlier on Monday,

Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd passed away, raising some concern about whether lawmakers will still be able to pass of new financial reform legislation this week.

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched 0.2% higher while Japan's Nikkei slipped down by 0.5%. The FTSE in London added 0.4%, and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 1.4%.

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The Economy

The Commerce Department said personal income grew 0.4% in May and personal spending increased by 0.2%. Economists had been expecting income growth of 0.5% and spending was projected to inch 0.1% higher.

Prices of personal consumption expenditures, meanwhile, advanced 0.2% in May.

Over the weekend,

G20 leaders agreed on a pledge by rich nations to cut budget deficits in half in three years.

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Company News

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

was the Dow's weakest performer, followed by

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

,

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

and

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

.

Meanwhile,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

and

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

put in the best performance.

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

CEO Steve Jobs deemed the iPhone 4 the "most successful product launch in Apple's history." The company sold more than 1.7 million iPhone 4s in the three days since the product's launch on June 24.

Noble

(NE) - Get Report

, the offshore drilling contractor, snapped up

Frontier Drilling

for $2.16 billion in an all-cash transaction.

BP

(BP) - Get Report

said costs of responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have reached $2.65 billion.

Ahead of its highly anticipated initial public offering,

Tesla Motors

boosted the total amount to be offered by almost 20% to 13.3 million shares, according to an amended registration statement filed today with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.

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>>The Economy

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Commodities and the Dollar

Crude oil for August delivery finished 61 cents lower to settle at $78.25 a barrel.

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the August gold contract lost $17.60 to settle at $1,238.60 an ounce.

The

dollar was trading higher against a basket of currencies, with the

dollar index up by 0.5%.

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>>The Economy

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>>Treasuries

Treasuries

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 24/32, diluting the yield to 3.025%.

The two-year note rose 2/32, decreasing the yield to 0.629%. The 30-year bond gained 1 1/32, lowering the yield to 4.007%.

--Written by Melinda Peer and Sung Moss in New York

.

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>>The Economy

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