Investing.com - U.S. stock prices fell on Monday as investors sold for profits and jumped to the sidelines to await fourth-quarter earnings that begin hitting the wire this week.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.38%, the S&P 500 index was down 0.31%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.09%.
Companies will begin unveiling fourth-quarter earnings this week, and investors sold stocks on Monday to await results.
Metals giant Alcoa will kick off earnings season by releasing fourth-quarter results later Tuesday.
Elsewhere, fiscal uncertainties are arising anew in the U.S., which prompted investors to avoid risk-on assets like equities.
The U.S. government risks defaulting on its obligations if Congress fails to lift the debt ceiling likely in February, and fears lawmakers will bicker over spending cuts as part of a deal to allow Washington to continue borrowing kept investors on the sidelines as well.
In 2011, Congress waited until the arrival of the deadline to lift the debt ceiling, roiling markets in the process.
Meanwhile solid but rather monotonous jobs data released Friday failed to bring in buyers.
In the U.S. on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. economy added 155,000 nonfarm payrolls in December, beating market calls for the economy to create 150,000 new jobs.
In addition, the U.S. employment rate remained unchanged at 7.8% last month, though markets had hoped for a decline to 7.7%.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised October's figures to 137,000 from 138,000 new jobs and hiked November's figure to 161,000 from 146,000.
While analysts have applauded recent jobs reports and agree the numbers do point to a recovery in the U.S. labor market, many experts insist the economy must double the number of payrolls it creates each month before recovery really gains steam.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included McDonald's, up 1.18%, Verizon Communications, up 0.90%, and AT&T, up 0.45%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Walt Disney, down 2.36%, Boeing, down 2.00%, and Alcoa, down 1.62%.
European indices, meanwhile, finished lower.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.52%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.68%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished down 0.56%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished down 0.41%.
Investors will pay close attention to Alcoa's earnings due for release on Tuesday.
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