NEW YORK, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed in negative territory on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index marking the four-day losing streak for the first time this year.
The blue-chip Dow dropped 70.73 points, or 0.47 percent, to 15, 010.74 points. The broader S&P 500 lost 9.77 points, or 0.59 percent, to 1,646.06 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was down 13.69 points, or 0.38 percent, to 3,589.09 points.
Wall Street opened mixed to begin a week with a light data calendar following a two-week losing streak as investors were speculating continually when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to trim its monetary stimulus policy.
Meanwhile, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield hit a new two-year high on the tapering concerns, which could hinder the recovering of the country's housing market since home buyers would pay higher mortgage rates.
As no major economic data is due on Monday, investors would be looking for any hints on Fed tapering plans from minutes of the latest meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the policy setting arm of the Fed, scheduled for release Wednesday.
Moreover, U.S monetary policy makers will meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from Thursday to Saturday to discuss economic situation and monetary policy.
Overseas, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8 percent Monday following Friday's trading error at Everbright Securities. The Japanese Nikkei also rose 0.8 percent on a weaker yen.
European stocks dipped across the board in the day, dragged down by a heavy selloff in Italian stock market, with its FTSE MIB index going down 2.46 percent.
The stocks in Europe were slowly but surely starting to stall out and turn lower after a decent bounce since late June, which could lead to contagion to the U.S. market, Mark Newton, chief technical analyst at Greywolf Execution Partners Inc, said in a note on Monday.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, climbed 5.50 percent to end at 15.16.
In other markets, oil prices dropped Monday on profit-taking after gaining for six trading days in a line.
Light, sweet crude for September delivery lost 36 cents to settle at 107.1 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. While Brent for October delivery went down 50 cents to close at 109.9 dollars a barrel.
Gold future for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange decreased 5.3 dollars to settle at 1, 365.7 dollars per ounce from Friday's two-month high on Monday.
The U.S. dollar traded mixed against other major currencies on Monday. In late New York trading, the euro gained to 1.3342 dollars from 1.3336 dollars of the previous session and the dollar bought 97.59 Japanese yen, higher than 97.5 yen of the previous session.