Stock benchmarks fell slightly as computer-related companies such as IBM and Microsoft that rose last week after better-than-expected results pared some of their gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 8.75, or 0.1 percent, to 8328.90. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index shed 1.13, or 0.1 percent, to 1424.37, its first decline in five days.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index dropped 1.57, or 0.2 percent, to 892.01.

Stocks turned lower after a gauge of leading economic indicators declined in March for a second month, evidence that anticipation of the war in Iraq dimmed the economic outlook.

The Conference Board's gauge of how the economy will perform over the next three to six months dropped 0.2 percent, matching economists' expectations. It fell 0.5 percent in February.

IBM declined 90 cents, to $83.36. Its stock rose 7 percent last week as first-quarter sales exceeded $20 billion, rather than falling short as many analysts expected.

Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker, fell 29 cents, to $25.21. It climbed 5.4 percent last week after the company reported an 8.1 percent increase in sales last quarter.

Texas Instruments, which rallied 20 percent last week as earnings beat estimates by a penny and it forecast a rise in sales this quarter, slipped 3 cents, to $19.37.

Oracle, the world's largest database software maker, dropped 16 cents, to $11.84.

Gold stocks rose after gold had its largest gain in two months. Newmont Mining, the world's largest gold producer, rose 60 cents, to $27.54.

Gold for June delivery rose $6.30, or 1.9 percent, to $333.50 a troy ounce on expectations the U.S. currency will weaken, making the dollar-priced metal cheaper for investors in Europe and Asia.

Merck added $1.07, to $56.96. The second-biggest U.S. drugmaker said first-quarter profit rose 5.3 percent, to $1.71 billion, matching forecasts.

AMR tumbled $1.15, to $3.85. Flight attendants at its American Airlines unit, angered over the disclosure of executive bonuses and a bankruptcy-protected pension plan, will vote again on whether to accept $340 million in pay, job and benefit cuts.

Wal-Mart Stores slid 43 cents, to $54.98. Sales at stores open more than a year are rising at the low end of forecasts.

Other Indicators

* The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 1.34, to 5004.98; the American Stock Exchange index rose 2.26, to 845.15; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 1.60, to 385.30.

* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 5 to 4 on the NYSE, where trading volume fell to 1.11 billion shares, from 1.38 billion on Thursday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, advancers outnumbered decliners by 8 to 7 and volume totaled 1.23 billion, down from 1.58 billion.

* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note fell $2.28 per $1,000 invested, and its yield rose to 3.99 percent, from 3.96 percent on Thursday.

* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 120.51 yen, up from 119.69 late Friday, and a euro bought $1.0868, down from $1.0882.

* Light, sweet crude oil for May delivery settled at $30.87, up 32 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.