Still, investors said this mild sell-off wasn't necessarily representative of broader pessimism about stocks or the economy. Several traders said it didn't take much to move the needle Monday, as volumes were extremely light following the holiday weekend.
"So many people are still out today that stocks are getting pushed around with very little buying or selling," said Sam Ginzburg, head of trading at First NY Securities.
All three indexes are still up between 7% and 11% for the year.
The Institute for Supply Management's monthly manufacturing index for March came in at 51.3. That was lower than estimates of 54.0 and also below its February reading.
Meanwhile, data on construction spending from the Census Bureau came in above expectations.
U.S. stocks wrapped up a stellar first quarter Thursday, with the S&P 500 finally joining the Dow in hitting a new high. U.S. markets were closed on Good Friday.
Traders didn't have too much in the way of new developments to focus on Monday. China released data Monday that indicated an acceleration in manufacturing activity. Separately, Beijing and Shanghai announced new measures designed to cool housing prices.
Markets in London, Frankfurt, Paris and Hong Kong were closed Monday for an extended Easter holiday.
Shares of eBay (Fortune 500) rose nearly 3% after analysts raised price targets on the online retailer. ,
Apple (Fortune 500) dropped, continuing a slide for the once-hot stock this year. Meanwhile, shares of , Blackberry ( jumped 5% as investors continued to bet that fortunes were turning around for the )smartphone maker .
Shares of the major health insurers, including Aetna (Fortune 500), , Humana (Fortune 500), and , Health Net (Fortune 500), popped in the final minutes of trading on anticipation of a report that the federal government would approve a plan to increase rates paid to insurers under Medicare Advantage. The government had originally planned to cut rates next year. Aetna, Humana and , UnitedHealth (Fortune 500) all moved even higher in after hours trading. ,
The dollar gained ground against the euro and British pound but fell against the Japanese yen.
Oil prices fell, while gold prices edged slightly higher.
The price on the 10-year Treasury rose slightly, pushing the yield down to 1.84% from 1.85%.
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