The Dow and S&P 500 finished lower Monday as petroleum-linked stocks tumbled ahead of earnings this week from ExxonMobil and Chevron.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 23.65 points (0.13 percent) at 17,623.05, while the broad-based S&P 500 dropped 3.97 (0.19 percent) to 2,071.18.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index eked out a 2.84 (0.06 percent) gain at 5,034.70, as strong advances by Microsoft (+2.6 percent) and others offset worries that Apple earnings will disappoint.
Apple, which reports earnings after markets close Tuesday, dropped 3.2 percent.
Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron lost 2.1 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, while smaller producers ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil lost more than 3.0 percent as another drop in crude prices weighed on the sector.
Both ExxonMobil and Chevron report earnings Friday.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International slid 5.3 percent as it sought to tamp down questions about its accounting and financial dealings.
The Canadian drugmaker announced an ad-hoc committee to review allegations about its business relationship with Philidor, a specialty pharma company. In a conference call with financial analysts, Valeant executives defended the company from allegations its accounting treatment of Philidor is an effort to disguise fraud.
Piedmont Natural Gas, which distributes natural gas in three southern states in the US, jumped 37.0 percent on news it will be acquired by Duke Energy $4.9 billion. Duke dropped 2.1 percent.
Leading meat and food-processing companies fell after a report by a World Health Organization agency said sausage, ham and other processed meats lifts the odds of contracting cancer. The report also cited likely cancer risks associated with eating red meat.
Hormel Food fell 1.0 percent, Pilgrim's Pride 1.9 percent and Tyson Foods 4.9 percent. Tyson was also hit by a downgrade from JPMorgan Chase that warned that lofty meat supplies would depress commodity prices.
Xerox fell 3.0 percent as it reported a loss of $34 million in the third quarter and announced it would undertake a review of the company's business portfolio and capital allocation options.
Global markets operator Intercontinental Exchange dipped 0.6 percent on news it will buy privately held Interactive Data Corporation for $5.2 billion to expand its financial data services.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.06 percent from 2.08 percent Friday, while the 30-year dipped to 2.87 percent from 2.90 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.