NEW YORK: U.S. stocks declined Monday after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed four straight weeks, as investors weighed the pace of central bank stimulus efforts amid corporate dealmaking.
Procter & Gamble Co. and Coca-Cola Co. retreated at least 1.2 percent as companies that make food, beverages and household products slumped. Yahoo! Inc. climbed 0.2 percent after agreeing to buy blogging network Tumblr Inc. for $1.1 billion. Actavis Inc. rallied 1.3 percent as it reached a deal to acquire Warner Chilcott Plc. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. gained more than 0.8 percent as energy shares surged.
The S&P 500 retreated 0.1 percent to 1,666.29 after rising as much as 0.3 percent earlier. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 19.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,335.28.
“Some minor pullback should be expected after the steady gains we’ve achieved,” said Eric Teal, chief investment officer at First Citizens BancShares Inc., which manages $5 billion in Raleigh, N.C. “I don’t think that we’re going to see any immediate tapering off of monetary policy, though we can expect from hawkish members or others outside the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) questioning the policy, which might lead to market volatility.”
Stocks erased gains from earlier in the session after Fed Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said the U.S. economy has improved “quite a lot” as the central bank maintains record stimulus. The S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index retreated the most among 10 industry gauges, falling 1 percent as Procter & Gamble slid 1.2 percent to $79.09 and Coca-Cola fell 1.4 percent to $42.38.
Red Hat Inc. slipped 4.3 percent to $52.65, ending 12 days of consecutive gains. The largest seller of Linux operating-system software was cut to market perform, an equivalent of neutral, from outperform at BMO Capital Markets by equity analyst Karl Keirstead.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. added 2.6 percent to $20.80. The second-biggest U.S. natural- gas producer said Robert Douglas Lawler will become chief executive officer from June 17.
Apple Inc. increased 2.2 percent to $442.93.