Updated from 2:44 p.m. EDTStocks in New York were modestly lower Monday, unable to catch a break even with news on a trio of mega mergers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 78.69 points, or 1.2%, to 6548.25, and the S&P 500 slunk back 6.7 points, or 1%, to 676.7. The Nasdaq was lower by 24.96 points, or 1.9%, at 1268.89. Industrials and financials were outperforming, though, with Bank of America ( BAC) leading the Dow with an 18% increase, and the KBW Banking Index rising 6%. Merck ( MRK) was the weakest Dow component, losing 11%, after proposing a $41 billion cash-and-stock deal, offering Schering Plough ( SGP) shareholders 0.5767 of a Merck share and $10.50 in cash for each of their shares. Schering's have surged 16% higher. Also, the Wall Street Journalreported that the board of Genentech ( DNA) is near a deal to sell the biotech staple to Swiss pharma company Roche for $95 per share, citing people familiar with the matter. And in yet another a merger update, Dow Chemical ( DOW) and Rohm & Haas ( ROH) have reportedly reached a settlement for the $15 billion merger between the two firms, agreeing to close a deal no later than April 1, according to CNBC. Meanwhile, Washington continues to fixate investors, says Paul Nolte, Director of Investments at Hinsdale Associates. "The daily news briefing, the comments about the horrendous economy, floating the possibility of a new stimulus package (just after the second was signed) and little resolution to the banking crisis have kept investors from stepping into stocks with any confidence. In fact, many are stepping away and vowing to never return," he writes.