Wall Street waffled before finishing lower Monday as oil prices seesawed and traders weighed lackluster earnings from Xerox against a surge in housing prices.
Investors were nervous about oil after crude futures' rally on Friday. So stocks gave up early gains as oil crept upward.
Stocks had advanced on news that the median price for existing homes in July was a record $219,000, a gain of 14.7 percent from a year ago. That was the biggest jump in prices since November 1980 and another in a string of reports showing the nation's economy continues to expand at a healthy pace.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54.70, or 0.5 percent, to 10,596.48. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, which has gained for the past four weeks, fell 4.65, or 0.4 percent, to 1229.03. The Nasdaq composite index fell 13.00, or 0.6 percent, to 2166.74, sending it back into negative territory for the year.
Xerox fell 85 cents, to $13.20, after the maker of copiers and printers missed Wall Street estimates and gave third-quarter earnings guidance below analysts' current forecasts.
BellSouth rose 9 cents, to $26.81, despite reporting a more than 20 percent drop in second-quarter profit on a slight rise in revenue. The decline was lower than analysts' expectations.
American Express fell 1 cent, to $54.56, although profit soared 16 percent in the second quarter, handily beating analysts' estimates.
Maytag rose 80 cents, to $17. The company said Sunday that the purchase proposal it received from Whirlpool may be a better deal than one offered by a New York investment firm, but a company statement said Maytag remains hesitant to immediately open its books to Whirlpool. Whirlpool rose $5.50, to $82.68.
Wal-Mart Stores fell 9 cents, to $49.45. The world's largest retailer said it plans to open an additional 42 stores in China by the end of next year, nearly doubling its presence in the country.
Motorola, the world's No. 2 mobile-phone maker, jumped 54 cents, to $20.54.
Exxon Mobil gained 44 cents, to $59.94.
New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 23.91, to 7423.25.
American Stock Exchange index rose 16.91, to 1563.45.
Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 6.79, to 670.99.
NYSE: 1.71 billion shares, down from 1.74 billion on Friday. Decliners outnumbered advancers 5 to 3.
Nasdaq: 1.51 billion shares, down from 1.52 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers 13 to 8.
Crude oil for September delivery: $59.00, up 35 cents.
Gold for current delivery: $425.70 a troy ounce, up from $424.70 on Friday.