After showing a notable decline earlier in the trading session on Monday, stocks have regained some ground over the course of the afternoon. The major averages have all moved well off their worst levels of the day.

The recovery attempt is partly due to reports that the Obama administration plans to ease certain restrictions on transactions with Cuba, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that U.S. telecom companies will be allowed to apply for licenses in the island nation.

Some buying interest was also generated by an announcement that President Barack Obama will deliver a major speech on the economy at Georgetown University on Tuesday.

The White House said that the president would discuss how each step his administration has taken to confront this economic crisis fits within his broader vision of how we move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity.

The weakness seen early in the day came as traders cashed in some of the market's recent gains amid concerns about the outlook for the impending earnings season.

In recent trading, the S&P 500 briefly climbed above the unchanged line, but it has slipped back into negative territory since then. The S&P 500 is currently down 0.43 at 856.13, while the Dow is down 38.79 at 8,044.59 and the Nasdaq is down 7.07 at 1,645.47.

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