U.S. stocks ended the day barely changed on Monday as investors took a break from a four-day rally that lifted major indexes to 10-month highs.
Wall Street initially charged higher, but a sharp gain in U.S. Treasury debt prices, which drove benchmark yields lower, triggered a sell-off in stocks.
The broader market has been strengthening as U.S. and global economic data have given more signs that a turnaround is in the works.
We have been recently seeing a disconnect between the two markets. Stocks were up on economic optimism and bonds were up on economic concerns, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co, in New York.
Investors are finally catching up with this, and seeing Treasuries as a sign that they should not be buying so much, Boockvar said.
U.S. Treasury debt prices rose on Monday, with the 30-year bond gaining almost 2 full points, as investors did some bargain hunting after Friday's sharp losses and the Federal Reserve bought government debt.
Financial stocks, which were among last week's biggest advancers, lost their momentum partially after veteran bank analyst Richard Bove said 150 to 200 more U.S. banks would fail during the banking crisis.
SunTrust Banks Inc
The S&P financial index <.GSPF> fell 0.9 percent.
Analysts have been warning that the market's upbeat mood could be put to the test as a recent rally has pushed the S&P up about 52 percent from its 12-year closing low set on March 9.
Financials are coming off and the whole market is just feeling a little bit tired ... the buyers stepped away a little bit, said Todd Leone, head of listed trading at Cowen & Co in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 3.32 points, or 0.03 percent, to 9,509.28. But the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> inched down just 0.56 of a point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,025.57 and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> shed 2.92 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2,017.98.
Earlier, the S&P 500 rose as high as 1,035.82, while the Nasdaq hit an intraday high at 2,036.03.
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Energy stocks also advanced, in line with a rise in U.S. front-month crude oil prices, which topped $74 a barrel on Monday.