Blue-chip tech companies notched the biggest gains in the Dow industrials, but Apple (AAPL)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 18.89 points, or 0.1%, to 13507.32. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index lost 1.37 points, or 0.1%, to 1470.68, and the tech-oriented Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 8.13 points, or 0.3%, to 3117.50. Apple's shares make up 10% of the Nasdaq Composite.
Technology shares in the S&P 500, which also includes Apple, lagged behind, declining 1.1%. But blue-chip tech stocks led the Dow industrials, as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)
Apple's decline of 18.55, or 3.6%, left it at 501.75, on news the company cut its component orders for the iPhone 5 due to weaker-than-expected demand. Wall Street analysts defended the stock, however, and UBS said it expects "strong" earnings from the company when it reports the latest quarter's results on Jan. 23.
Investors expect the next big driver of stocks to be corporate-earnings reports for the fourth quarter of 2012, with a number of notable companies reporting this week.
Companies in the S&P 500 are expected to post 1.9% higher earnings per share than they did in the previous year's final quarter, according to Thomson Reuters. Analysts have cut their outlook since the first day of the year, when they projected 2.9% of earnings growth.
"The thing I'll be looking for is how earnings numbers come in against lowered expectations," said Mike Shea, managing partner with Direct Access Partners.
Little U.S. economic data was released Monday, so investors instead looked to remarks from a trio of U.S. central bankers.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke at the University of Michigan after the close of trading Monday. He said it was important that Congress raise the debt ceiling as the U.S. economic recovery is still relatively fragile.
Earlier Monday, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said he expects the Fed to continue purchasing mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds "well into the second half of 2013." Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said he was concerned that continued bond buying could "complicate" any future Fed efforts to cut back on economic stimulus.
European stocks mostly declined, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.4%, after industrial-production data in the euro zone showed output fell in November from the previous year. Italy's FTSE MIB index declined 0.6% after its November industrial output fell more than expected. Germany's DAX index rose 0.2%.
Asian stocks were mostly higher, with China's Shanghai Composite surging 3.1% to a seven-month high after a regulator said the country will grant foreigners greater access to its stock markets. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and India's Sensex index both hit 52-week highs, climbing 0.6% and 1.2%, respectively. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
Crude oil rose 0.6%, to settle at $94.14 a barrel, while gold added 0.5%, to settle at $1,668.90 a troy ounce. The dollar fell against the euro and rose against the yen. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.857% as prices rose.
In other corporate news, jeweler Harry Winston Diamond (HWD)
PPG Industries (PPG)
Research In Motion (RIMM)
Vera Bradley (VRA)
Appliance and electronics retailer HHGregg (HGG)
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