Stocks finish lower, giving up early gains


NEW YORK -- Wall Street retreated Monday, taking a break from last week's big advances, as financial stocks fell amid fresh concerns about soured loans.

With little to go on Monday, investor enthusiasm weakening by midsession, and investors began taking some money out of stocks.

Economic data that begins rolling out Tuesday could help give investors more conviction. The findings due Tuesday include reports on existing home sales for August and the Richmond Fed's regional survey. Many investors hope readings on durable goods and consumer spending later this week will give the Fed room to cut rates still further when it meets next month.

However, lower rates -- and the potential for more cuts -- continued to weigh down the U.S. dollar. The U.S. currency dropped to a 15-year low against six other major currencies.

There were no major economic reports Monday. However, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said a downturn in inflation gives policy makers "some wiggle room" to further cut interest rates. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech on education, but did not touch upon economic issues.

"I think you're seeing some profit taking after last week's rally," said Scott Fullman, director of investment strategy at Israel A. Englander & Co. "You have consumer confidence that is something being closely watched, and you're seeing a general end of quarter nervousness."

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrials fell 61.13, or 0.44%, to 13,759.06.

Broader indicators fell, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index declining 8.02, or 0.53%, to 1,517.73, while the Nasdaq composite index lost 3.27, or 0.12%, to 2,667.95.