U.S. Stock Indexes Edge Lower, Led by the Energy Sector

NEW YORK (AP) -

The U.S. stock market took a small step back on Monday, giving up some of its big gains from last week.

Crude oil prices fell, pulling down energy stocks. Exxon Mobil lost 1.7 percent, the most in the Dow Jones industrial average. The price of oil slipped as traders weighed declining drilling in the U.S. against rising gasoline supplies that could crimp demand for crude in the coming weeks. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 14 cents to close at $59.25 a barrel in New York.

The market was coming off its biggest gain in two months on Friday following news that U.S. employers added 223,000 jobs in April, a solid gain suggesting that the economy may be recovering after a stumbling start to the year.

That sentiment helped cool off demand for bonds on Monday. As a result, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.26 percent, its highest level of the year so far, from 2.15 percent late Friday.

The Dow fell 85.94 points, or 0.5 percent, to 18,105.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 10.77 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,105.33. The Nasdaq composite slipped 9.98 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,993.57. The three indexes are up for the month and year.

The indexes barely budged much of the day. Absent major new economic data, investors mostly focused Monday on the latest corporate deal news and company earnings.

Noble Energy’s $2.1 billion all-stock buyout of rival oil and gas production company Rosetta Resources failed to impress traders, however. Noble’s shares slumped $3.05, or 6.2 percent, to $46.07. It was the biggest decliner among S&P 500 companies.

The slide in oil prices also hurt stock prices for several other oil producers and drilling equipment companies. QEP Resources fell $1.13, or 5.2 percent, to $20.46, while Pioneer Natural Resources slid $6.07, or 3.8 percent, to $152.99. National Oilwell Varco shed $1.90, or 3.6 percent, to $51.33.

The 10 sectors in the S&P 500 declined, led by energy stocks. The sector is down 0.2 percent for the year.

In other energy futures trading, Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 48 cents to close at $64.91 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 0.6 cents to close at $1.986 a gallon, while heating oil fell 0.9 cent to close at $1.945 a gallon. Natural gas fell 7.8 cents to close at $2.802 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In metals trading, gold fell $5.90 to $1,183 an ounce, silver fell 15 cents to $16.31 an ounce and copper fell two cents to $2.90 a pound.

Markets in Europe were mixed as traders looked for progress on the latest bailout for Greece. European finance ministers met on Monday to discuss the issue, but emerged without a deal. A debt default would destabilize Greece, potentially causing it to fall out of the eurozone. France’s CAC 40 fell 1.2 percent, while Germany’s DAX shed 0.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.2 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 3 percent after the People’s Bank of China cut interest rates for the third time in half a year, the central bank’s latest bid to shore up sputtering economic growth. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5 percent.