Declines in health and consumer shares yesterday weighed on the market as investors braced for policy news from central banks.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 78.57 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 17,719.92, the S&P 500 lost 9.65 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 2,080.46 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.86 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 5,108.67.
For the month, the Dow was up 0.3 per cent, S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 1.1 per cent.
Retail stocks were down on Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year. The S&P retail index was down one per cent, while Target shares fell 1.3 per cent to $72.50 after its website faced an outage due to heavy traffic.
Shares of brick-and-mortar stores were down following Black Friday, including Wal-Mart Stores, down 1.8 per cent at $58.84, and Macy’s, down 2.3 per cent at $39.08.
Among other retailers, Staples fell 1.9 per cent to $12.07. Antitrust regulators were reportedly looking to block Staples’ acquisition of smaller rival Office Depot. Office Depot was down 2.4 per cent at $6.59.
Sales on Cyber Monday, the busiest day of the year for internet shopping, were up 14 per cent from a year earlier, according to data.
Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen is due to address Congress on Thursday and give a speech on the economic outlook the day before.
While the US central bank could raise interest rates in December for the first time since 2006, the European Central Bank is expected to unveil fresh monetary easing measures on Thursday. Friday’s non-farm payrolls report could give further clues on the direction of policy ahead of the Fed’s 16-17 December policy meeting.