Stocks fell for the first day in six yesterday as oil prices surpassed $59 a barrel, stoking concern that energy costs may slow growth.

"Oil prices going up and up is definitely going to slam the economy into reverse," said Michael J. Vogelzang, who oversees $5 billion as chief investment officer at Boston Advisors. "Lower stock prices are certainly expected from higher oil prices."

Steelmakers such as Nucor dropped on concern that surging production in China will depress prices. A late rally in some technology shares including Qualcomm wiped out most of the market's earlier decline.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index slipped from a three-month high, retreating 0.86, or 0.1 percent, to 1216.10. The Dow Jones industrial average decreased 13.96, or 0.1 percent, to 10,609.11. The Nasdaq composite index fell 1.98, or 0.1 percent, to 2088.13.

Movers

Nucor, the No. 2 U.S. steel company, fell $1.43, to $52.93, as an index of 13 steelmakers fell 2.5 percent. U.S. Steel, the largest steelmaker, declined $1.78, to $39.41. Allegheny Technologies, a stainless steel producer, dropped 27 cents, to $22.99.

Qualcomm, which makes chips for cellular phones, gained 31 cents, to $35.21, as technology shares rallied. Texas Instruments gained 32 cents, to $27.64.

Cablevision Systems soared $5.13, or 19 percent, to $32, after chairman and founder Charles Dolan made a bid to take the company private in a $7.9 billion transaction. Shares of other cable companies also rose. Comcast climbed 49 cents, to $32.06, and Time Warner gained 35 cents, to $17.13.

Boeing had the steepest drop in the Dow average, losing 95 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $63.67, after the parent of Air Canada canceled a $6.1 billion plane order. The scrapping of the order will slow Boeing's attempt to regain the spot as the No. 1 maker of commercial planes from Airbus SAS.

EBay fell 81 cents, to $37.24, after a Wall Street Journal report that Google plans to offer an electronic payment service that would compete with eBay's PayPal unit this year. Google gained $6.40, to $286.70.

Altiris, which makes software to manage computer systems, slid 86 cents, to $16.73.

Indexes

New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 20.63, to 7325.69.

American Stock Exchange index rose 3.48, to 1549.44.

Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 2.35, to 641.84.

Volume

NYSE: 1.28 billion shares, down from 1.93 billion on Friday. Decliners outnumbered advancers 3 to 2.

Nasdaq: 1.43 billion shares, down from 2.04 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers 7 to 5.

Commodities

Crude oil for July delivery: $59.37, up 90 cents.

Gold for current delivery: $438.40 a troy ounce, up from $438.30 on Friday.