U.S. stocks declined on Monday as disappointing reports from Verizon and Aetna Inc prompted profit taking after the Dow and the S&P 500 touched 8-month closing highs.

All three major U.S. stock indexes scored a second straight weekly advance on Friday, with the Dow rising 4 percent, the S&P 500 gaining 4.1 percent and the Nasdaq climbing 4.2 percent. For the two weeks through Friday's close, each of the major indexes was up about 11 percent.

I think we've come a little too far, said Chip Hanlon, the president of Delta Global Advisors in Huntington Beach, California. The movement today is mostly a reaction to last week's movement.

Verizon Communications reported second-quarter earnings that fell from a year ago and said it would cut 8,000 jobs in its landline business. The stock fell 2.6 percent to $30.68 and was the top drag on the Dow.

Aetna shares shed 4.5 percent to $25.25 after the company, one of the biggest U.S. providers of employer-based health insurance, cut its full-year outlook, citing higher-than-projected medical costs.

Hanlon said that despite the stock market's slight decline, it's a surprisingly strong market today. I think the market is continuing to price in the notion that the economy is slowly on the mend.

Stronger-than-expected earnings, coupled with data suggesting an economic recovery could be around the corner, have lifted indexes over the last two weeks, giving stocks their best two-week run since just after the S&P 500 hit a 12-year closing low in the beginning of March.

Also influencing the market's mood: Sales of new single-family homes in the United States rose more than expected in June, while the inventory of homes for sale fell to more than an 11-year low.

The data drove the Dow Jones U.S. home construction index <.DJUSHB> up 3.5 percent to 256.83.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 27.58 points, or 0.30 percent, to 9,065.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 2.98 points, or 0.30 percent, to 976.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> slid 9.60 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,956.36.

After Verizon, the biggest drag on the Dow was Boeing Co , which fell 1.1 percent to $41.89 after Barclays downgraded the stock to equal-weight from overweight.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)