S&P 500 and Dow industrials were little changed and the Nasdaq fell on Monday as investors looked for bargains in financial shares, while a big drop in oil prices weighed on major energy company shares.
Weighing on the Nasdaq, shares of E*Trade Financial Corp. (Nasdaq:ETFC) dropped 50 percent to $4.31 after Citigroup downgraded the stock to sell and said investors cannot ignore the risk of possible bankruptcy at the online broker.
Trading was volatile and lighter than usual, with bond markets in the United States closed for the Veterans Day holiday, and no major U.S. economic indicators scheduled.
Shares of Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), up 4.1 percent at $34.48, helped both the S&P and Dow. Also, the top three U.S. banks agreed on the structure of a backup fund of at least $75 billion to stabilize credit markets, according to The New York Times.
Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) shares led declines on the Dow and S&P. Oil futures were down 2 percent at $93.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Everybody is so spooked by what happened last week, so we're in a holding pattern, said Cummins Catherwood, managing director at Rutherford, Brown & Catherwood in Philadelphia. The tide went out very, very fast and general speculation is that these write-offs aren't over.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 11.22 points, or 0.09 percent, at 13,031.52. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.32 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,451.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 10.26 points, or 0.39 percent, at 2,617.68.
Also on the Nasdaq, Microsoft Corp (NYSE:MSFT) shares fell 1 percent to $33.40 after Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock, according to CNBC.
Last week, the Nasdaq lost 6.5 percent -- or 182 points. The Dow dropped 4.1 percent and the S&P 500 declined 3.7 percent.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)