NEW YORK — U.S. stocks edged lower Monday on the heels of strong gains in the prior week, as investors weighed fluctuations in the dollar and its impact on other markets, including crude prices.
Equity markets fluctuated between modest gains and slight losses, tracking the movement of energy stocks as crude oil prices were caught between the weakness in the U.S. dollar and concerns about oversupply. The S&P 500 energy sector was up 0.2 percent after earlier gaining as much as 0.9 percent.
The action in the dollar has closely affected stocks of late as traders anticipate monetary policy tightening by the Federal Reserve sometime later this year. The 20-day correlation between the dollar index and the S&P 500 sits at -0.79. The dollar index was down 0.9 percent on the day.
People are prepared for the strength of the dollar to hurt earnings, but by how much they don’t know yet.
“People are now way too focused on earnings, which start in a week or two, and what the impact of the stronger dollar will be and until that happens it is going to hold the market in check,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York.
While the dollar’s rise has been beneficial for consumers, its rapid strengthening has been a problem for a large portion of the market, such as commodities firms and exporters.
“People are prepared for the strength of the dollar to hurt earnings, but by how much they don’t know yet,” said Polcari.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 11.61 points, or 0.06 percent, to 18,116.04, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 3.68 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,104.42 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 15.44 points, or 0.31 percent, to 5,010.97.
The Nasdaq snapped a five-session winning streak but remains less than 1 percent from a closing record set on March 10, 2000.
Oil Bubbles Up
In a choppy session, Brent settled up 1.1 percent at $55.92 a barrel, while U.S. crude settled up 1.9 percent at $47.45. The decline in the dollar outweighed oversupply concerns after top exporter Saudi Arabia said it would only mull cutting output if producers outside OPEC do so as well.
Kansas City Southern (KSU) shares dropped 8 percent to $106.48 as the worst performer on the S&P 500 after the railroad cut its full year revenue forecast.
The Nasdaq Biotech index fell for the first time in nine sessions, down 2.2 percent, after running up nearly 20 percent from its February low.
Volume was light, with about 5.42 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.86 billion average so far this month, according to BATS Global Markets.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,764 to 1,266, for a 1.39-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,472 issues rose and 1,287 fell for a 1.14-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 62 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq composite recorded 153 new highs and 34 new lows.
What to watch Tuesday:
The Labor Department releases the Consumer Price Index for February at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
The Treasury Department releases foreign holdings of U.S. debt for January at 9 a.m.
The Commerce Department releases new home sales for February at 10 a.m.
These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results:
G-III Apparel (GIII)
McCormick & Co. (MKC)
Buy Energy-Star appliances. Yes, you’ll pay a little more upfront but you’ll save serious dollars in the long-term.
Turn off and unplug any electrical device you’re not currently using. Use a programmable thermostat. Wash your clothes in cold water and line-dry them rather than putting them in the machine. Turn off the lights if you’re not inside the room.
1. Conserve energy
Take shorter showers. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. Install a low-flow showerhead. Fix leaky faucets. Use rain barrels to collect water for your garden (check first to see if it’s legal in your area).
Shaving an extra $10 per month from your water or energy bill adds up to $120 each year, a nice chunk of change to have back in your budget.
2. Conserve water
Live in an area of town that’s not overly car-dependent. Walk or bike to work, or use public transit if it’s available. Carpool with coworkers who live nearby. Set up a carpool schedule for getting the neighborhood kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.
Run all your errands in one trip rather than heading out several times a week to take care of a task here and a task there. This saves time, money and the environment –- a trifecta of savings.
3. Use your car less
Create a meal plan and a shopping list to make sure you only buy ingredients you’ll eat before they spoil. Learn to use leftovers creatively. Compost food scrapes and food that has happened to expire, or find ways you may still be able to use it (like turning overripe bananas into banana bread).
4. Cut back on food waste
Install a water purification tap on your faucet and buy a reusable water bottle you can take to the gym or carry while running errands. You can also buy reusable water bottles that have a filtration system built into the cap, so you can refill at a drinking fountain while you’re out.
5. Never buy bottled water
Buying fresh ingredients and making your own meals from scratch is another trifecta: It saves you money; it cuts back on the unnecessary waste caused by foods that are over-packaged; and it cuts back on the health risks of foods that are over-processed.
6. Stay away from overly packaged foods
This motto of frugality from the Great Depression -– "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" — is a smart one to follow today if you’re on a mission to live in a way that’s more Earth-friendly.
This motto encompasses everything from mending clothes rather than throwing them away to learning to fix your broken toaster rather than buying a new one. In our "disposable" society, this motto stands as an encouragement to be more resourceful and make the most of what you already own.
7. Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without
Whether it’s in your backyard or on your kitchen windowsill, growing your own veggies and herbs gives you fresh, organic ingredients you don’t have to waste gas driving to the store to purchase. Plus, you’ll know your produce is totally organic and pesticide-free because you grew it yourself.
8. Grow your own food
When you make your own cleaning products from simple household ingredients, you save money, cut back on packaging waste, and can make solutions that are safer for the environment and your family. Many household cleaning products get the job done just as well as expensive store-bought cleaners with harsh chemicals.
9. Make your own cleaning products
Why buy a DVD you’ll only watch a once or a book that will just sit on your shelf once you’ve read it? Borrow media from your local library — many libraries even have video games for your kids.
When you have a DIY project, borrow tools from your neighbors rather than buying a power washer or circular saw you’ll probably never use again. Organize a clothing swap with your friends so you can trade items from each other’s closets — an outfit that’s old and boring to you could be new and fresh to one of your friends.
10. Borrow rather than buy
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