NEW YORK, July 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks pulled back on Monday, as investors took a breather after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 set record highs last week.
The Dow lost 44.05 points, or 0.26 percent, to 17,024.21. The S& P 500 fell 7.79 points, or 0.39 percent, to 1,977.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 34.40 points, or 0.77 percent, to 4,451.53.
Last week, the Dow and the S&P 500 rose to uncharted territories, with the blue-chip index settling above the 17,000 mark for the first time last Thursday, boosted by stronger-than- expected U.S. nonfarm payroll report.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in June, while the unemployment rate unexpectedly declined from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent. Both data topped economists' expectations.
However, the upbeat jobs report also propelled J.P. Morgan economists to pull forward their forecast for the Federal Reserve' s first interest rate hike to the third quarter of 2015 rather than the fourth quarter of 2015, triggering market concerns.
The major indices traded below flatline during the whole trading session, as investors chose to stay on the sidelines in absence of major economic data on Monday, awaiting more clues from the Fed's minutes of its latest policy meeting due out Wednesday afternoon.
Investors were also paying close attention to the second- quarter earnings season, with 4 percent of the S&P 500 companies having reported results, of which 63.6 percent beat analyst expectations on earnings while 68.2 percent surpassed market consensus on revenue, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The CBOE Volatility Index, often referred to as Wall Street's fear gauge, surged 9.79 percent to end at 11.33 on Monday.
In other markets, crude prices fell for the seventh consecutive trading day on Monday as Libya is expected to increase crude oil supplies. Light, sweet crude for August delivery slipped 53 cents to settle at 103.53 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange continued to slide Monday on a strong dollar, with the most active gold contract for August delivery down 3.6 dollars, or 0.27 percent, to settle at 1,317 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar advanced against most major currencies Monday, continuously supported by the upbeat U.S. nonfarm payroll report for June.
In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.3592 dollars from 1.3607 dollars in the previous session. The greenback bought 102. 06 Japanese yen, higher than 101.86 yen of the previous session.