Stocks cut losses on Monday and the benchmark S&P 500 briefly turned positive, as investors snapped up financials shares on hopes that quarterly results of major banks will show stabilization returning to the financial sector.

Oil prices also retreated from their earlier sharp slide, helping cushion the broader market.

Bank of America shares jumped more than 11 percent to $10.68, while those of Citigroup -- which is scheduled to report quarterly results on Friday -- climbed more than 16 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 46.68 points, or 0.58 percent, at 8,036.70. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 0.86 points, or 0.10 percent, at 855.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 8.04 points, or 0.49 percent, at 1,644.50.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)