Stocks were little changed on Monday as caution before the quarterly earnings reporting season offset a boost from falling crude oil prices.
Shares of manufacturers such as Caterpillar Inc headed higher as crude oil prices dropped below $80 a barrel.
But crude's drop hit shares of oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp, which was the top drag on both the Dow and the S&P 500.
A profit warning from Ryder Systems Inc added to caution as the stock of the truck leasing and logistics company slid more than 6 percent. In cutting its outlook, Ryder blamed a slowing economy.
The Dow Jones Transport average, which includes Ryder and is seen by some as a proxy for the economy, lost more than 1 percent.
We had a huge last week. It's natural that there might be some cautiousness going into what's going to be a very important two to three weeks of earnings, said Mike Binger, portfolio manager at Thrivent Financial in Minneapolis.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 14.96 points, or 0.11 percent, at 14,051.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.59 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,554.00. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.63 points, or 0.02 percent, at 2,779.69.
Among gainers, Web search company Google Inc rose to a record high of $601.45, buoyed by optimism about the strength of its advertising technology and a view that tech shares will benefit from greater business spending.
Shares Caterpillar, a heavy equipment maker, rose 1.2 percent to $81.12 on the New York Stock Exchange, while shares of diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc edged up 0.3 percent.
Exxon Mobil dropped 0.9 percent to $90.52 and rival Chevron Corp fell by almost 1 percent to $91.48.
Shares of Ryder fell to $46.06 -- the stock's worst decline in almost 3 years.
Shares of Merrill Lynch & Co. fell 1.8 percent to $75.29 after two brokerages downgraded the stock.
Trading was light due to the Columbus Day holiday when U.S. government offices will be closed and bond markets are shut.
Stocks revived last week, sending the Dow and the S&P 500 to all-time highs as the market recovered from a summer sell-off caused by a credit squeeze and housing market losses.