US stocks fell yesterday as investors turned cautious a day ahead of a crucial government report on July employment, and took profits after recent strong gains.<br /><br />The stock market’s second day of declines came on the heels of a four-day rally that pushed US indexes on Tuesday to close at their highest levels since last fall.<br /><br />Losses were broad-based, with the consumer staples and telecommunications services sectors among the drags on the S&P 500. An S&P index of consumer staples stocks fell 0.9 per cent, while an S&P index of telecom services shares lost 1.2 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Procter & Gamble</strong> shares fell for a second day after posting an 11 per cent drop in quarterly sales on Wednesday. In yesterday’s session, P&G’s stock lost 4.5 per cent to close at $51.46. It was the top drag on the Dow.<br /><br />Another Dow component, <strong>Cisco Systems</strong>, the world’s largest network equipment manufacturer, also weighed on sentiment as its chief executive John Chambers said that it’s too soon to call a recovery. <br /><br />After losing ground in morning trading, Cisco rose 0.6 per cent to close at $22.308 on the Nasdaq.<br /><br />Wall Street’s attention is now on the government's all-important non-farm payrolls report, which will show the number of jobs lost in July when it is released before the bell today.<br /><br />Analysts forecast that the Labor Department report will show 320,000 workers lost their jobs in July, the least for any month since September last year.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average declined 24.71 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 9,256.26. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 5.64 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 997.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 19.89 points, or 1 per cent, to 1,973.16.<br /><br />Shares of low-cost wireless carrier <strong>MetroPCS</strong> plunged almost 30 per cent to close at $8.99 after posting disappointing quarterly results.<br /><br />Despite the latest pullback, the broad S&P 500 is up 47.4 per cent from its 12-year closing low in early March. The rally has been driven by a string of economic data suggesting a recovery, and an earnings season with most S&P 500 companies beating expectations.