Stocks finish relatively flat as attention shifts to corporate earnings.
US stocks traded within a narrow range Monday, with the major indexes finishing at or near record highs, as investors shifted their focus to a deluge of corporate earnings.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) ended flat at 2,459.14. The benchmark traded within a five-point range throughout the session.
Five of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in positive territory, including utilities, materials and consumer discretionary. Healthcare was the biggest decliner, as investors awaited a Senate vote on healthcare reform that is expected to come next week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) pared gains to end flat at 21,629.72. The tech-driven Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) also finished flat at 6,314.43.
Several Dow components are scheduled to report earnings this week, including Microsoft Corp, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., American Express Co and General Electric.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (NYSEARCA:VXX) rose at the start of the week, but continued to point to stable market conditions. The VIX climbed 3.3% to 9.94, on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic mean.
The so-called fear index plunged near multi-decade lows on Friday as Wall Street rallied to record highs.
In commodities, oil prices were down across the board on renewed concern over US shale output. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for August delivery fell 45 cents, or 1%, to $46.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which trades on London’s ICE Futures exchange, declined 41 cents, or 0.8%, to $48.50 a barrel.
The Final Word: A dearth of economic data on Monday kept market participants focused on the earnings calendar. The earnings focus will last several weeks as the bulk of Wall Street companies report their quarterly results.