After starting the day with a nice move to the upside, stocks began to decline in the afternoon to finish the day with a loss for the first time in the last 5 sessions. The final 30 minutes of trading saw markets finish just off the low with the third-highest volume for a 30-minute period.

Pimco co-CEO Mohamed El-Erian said Monday during an interview with CNBC that while recent stocks moves were encouraging, it's too early to be talking about a bottom for stocks.

If you're intellectually honest, we simply don't know. There are so many moving pieces, the executive at the world's biggest bond fund told CNBC. The reality is we were overdue for a technical bounce. We're getting it, but it's too early to call the bottom with any conviction.

He also cited uncertainty over Washington policy-making decisions as a market risk.

It's an upside-down world where everybody is in the same boat and you need a lot of coordination so that we can navigate what are pretty fluid conditions, he said. There is some good news but there's also some bad news.

El-Erian had high praise for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's 60 Minute interview on Sunday night.

I thought he was highly effective, El-Erian said. He came across as someone who understood the difficulties that face average Americans.

At Monday's close of floor trading on the NYSE, the DOW was on 7216.97 with a loss of 7.01 points (-0.10%) while the S&P finished on 753.95, down 2.60 points (-0.34%). The technology-heavy NASDAQ closed on 1404.02 after losing 27.48 points (-1.92%).

The dollar traded in risk-acceptance mode, primarily on the rise in S&P futures in the overnight session and the early rise of stocks in N.Y. On the day, the greenback ended up with a loss of 0.32% to the euro, 0.33% on Australia's currency and 0.45% to sterling as it gained 0.23% against the yen.

Treasuries were sold as traders speculated that lower demand from China would drive prices down. Yield on the 2-year note gained 2.8 basis points to 0.992% while yield on the 10-year note rose 6.2 basis points to 2.954%.

Crude for March delivery was recently trading up 90 cents (1.92%) to $47.17 per barrel.

Gold for April delivery was recently trading down $5.20 (-0.56%) to $924.60 per ounce.

Bonds could be in for a wild ride this week as the Fed continues debating the merits of purchasing U.S. debt. Reserve officials alluded to the possibility of adding Treasuries to their balance sheet during the December meeting, and traders will be alert for any clues regarding their most recent thinking on the subject.