Blue-chip stocks dipped on Monday as a 2 percent drop in oil prices dragged the energy sector lower and investors locked in profits after Friday's rally.
The Nasdaq was flat, with Web search company Google Inc limiting the index's losses. The stock rose 1.5 percent to $602.73 on Nasdaq and hit a record high on optimism about the strength of its advertising technology.
The Dow and the S&P 500 surged to all-time highs on Friday on a stronger-than-expected employment report.
One of the biggest drags on stocks was Exxon Mobil Corp, which dropped 1.3 percent to $90.17 on the NYSE. U.S. crude oil for November delivery fell $2.20 to settle at $79.02 a barrel. Contributing to oil's fall was the rise in the dollar, as well as concerns that a global credit squeeze could reduce demand for oil.
With oil prices down and metal prices soft, that's putting pressure on commodity prices in general. And after the party we had on Friday, why not some hangover? said Al Goldman , chief market strategist at A.G. Edwards, in St. Louis.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 43.90 points, or 0.31 percent, at 14,022.11. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 7.67 points, or 0.49 percent, at 1,549.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.33 points, or 0.08 percent, at 2,777.99.
But Ryder Systems Inc, a truck leasing and logistics company, said a slowing economy caused it to lower its earnings outlook. Ryder's stock suffered the worst decline in nearly three years, falling 7 percent to $45.81.
The news pressured other transport stocks. The Dow Jones Transportation Average, a barometer of economic trends, slipped 1.4 percent.
Investors also were cautious before the start of the earnings reporting season.
Earnings reports for the third-quarter will begin on Tuesday when aluminum company and Dow component Alcoa Inc is due to report. Alcoa's stock fell 1.4 percent to $38.26 on the NYSE.
Trading was light due to the Columbus Day holiday, with U.S. government offices closed and bond markets shut.
Shares of Merrill Lynch & Co. fell 3.2 percent to $74.20 after two brokerages downgraded the stock.