Stocks end mixed amid investor caution

chart_ws_index_dow.top.pngClick the chart for more market data. By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK(CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks ended mixed Monday, with technology shares rising modestly, amid a pause in the flow of corporate results and ahead of a statement from the Federal Reserve later this week.

In the commodities market, gold and silver prices held gains but closed off session highs. Oil held near $112 a barrel.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) fell 26 points, or 0.2%, to 12,479. The S&P 500 (SPX) slipped 2 points, or 0.1%, to 1,335. But the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) bucked the trend, rising nearly 6 points, or 0.2%, to 2,825.

Stocks retreated after the Dow ended last week near a 3-year high on a batch of strong corporate earnings.

While there were no top-tier corporate results released Monday, the week ahead brings quarterly results from nine Dow components and 180 members of the S&P 500.

Shares of Netflix (NFLX) fell nearly 5% in extended hours after the company reported strong quarterly gains in sales and profits, but offered a conservative outlook for the current quarter.

Investors were also awaiting comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who is scheduled to hold a first-ever news conference Wednesday after the central bank releases its official policy statement.

Ryan Larson, a senior equity trader at RBC Global Asset Management, said corporate reports due after the closing bell could help set the tone for trading in the following session. But he expects the market to drift between small gains and losses in the meantime as investors hold off on big bets before hearing from Bernanke.

The market was closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.

Currencies and commodities: Gold futures for June delivery rose $4.70 to $1,508.70 an ounce, after setting a new intraday trading high of $1,518.60 earlier Monday.

Silver futures for May delivery were up $1.33 to $47.40 an ounce. Earlier, prices rose to $49.82, near an all-time high.

Oil for June delivery slid 6 cents to settle at $112.23 a barrel.

The dollar fell against the euro and the British pound, but rose against the Japanese yen.

A weaker dollar tends to support prices for commodities that are priced in the U.S. currency. As a result, oil and gold often rise when the greenback retreats.

In addition, precious metals have benefited by growing concerns about inflation, which has taken off in emerging markets and is on the rise in Europe.

Gold and silver are assets that many investors see as a hedge against inflation, since tangible assets tend to hold their value better than stocks or bonds when prices are rising.

Economy: Sales of new homes rose more than expected in March, although the weak housing market remains a concern for many investors.

March new-home sales came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000, up 11% from the the revised February rate of 270,000, the Census Bureau said.

Economists were expecting a sales rate of 280,000, according to consensus estimates gathered by Briefing.com.

"Home sales are critical, and even though we may see some marginal improvement, they're still down considerably from where they were before the downturn," said Andy Hugos, financial consultant with LPL Financial.

Companies: Shares of Kimberly-Clark (KMB, Fortune 500) were down 2.7% after the maker of paper products said first-quarter earnings fell 6.5% from the same period last year.

World markets: Asian markets ended lower. The Shanghai Composite fell 1.5% and Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.1%.

Stock markets in Britain, Germany, France and Hong Kong were all closed for Easter Monday.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 3.36% from 3.4% late Thursday. The bond market closed early Thursday and remained closed in observance of Good Friday. To top of page

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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 32,627.97 -234.33 -0.71%
Nasdaq 13,215.24 99.07 0.76%
S&P 500 3,913.10 -2.36 -0.06%
Treasuries 1.73 0.00 0.12%
Data as of 6:29am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 8.29 0.05 0.61%
Advanced Micro Devic... 54.59 0.70 1.30%
Cisco Systems Inc 47.49 -2.44 -4.89%
General Electric Co 13.00 -0.16 -1.22%
Kraft Heinz Co 27.84 -2.20 -7.32%
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