New York — Stocks were modestly lower Monday as investors prepared for the start of corporate earnings season. The market gave up some of its gains from late last week, which were driven partly by news of a surge in hiring last month.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,019 as of 2:34 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost eight points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,977 and the Nasdaq composite fell 31 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,455.
The Dow closed above 17,000 for the first time Thursday following the strong jobs report. U.S. financials markets were closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday.
EARNINGS BEGIN: Investors will get a sense of how corporate profits are faring as earnings season begins this week. Aluminum mining giant Alcoa reports its latest results on Tuesday and Wells Fargo, the No. 1 U.S. mortgage lender, reports on Friday. Investors are expecting second quarter profits to be up 4.9 percent from a year ago, according to FactSet.
"I think we're going to exceed expectations," said Joe Tanious, global market strategist with J.P. Morgan Funds. "Companies were able to post 6 percent earnings growth in the first quarter, even with the U.S. economy contracting. Now that we've seen a rebound in economic activity, I think we're looking at a pretty good earnings season."
BIG SELLING IN SMALL COMPANIES: The Russell 2000 index, which is made up primarily of small, riskier companies, was down more than the rest of the market. The index lost 1.6 percent, versus the 0.4 percent decline in the S&P 500, which is made up of large companies.
GROUNDED: Major airlines stocks fell after the Transportation Security Administration announced new security measures that would impact international flights into the United States. The TSA said that all electronic devices would need to have power in order to travel, including tablet computers and cell phones, which could impact the number of passengers able to travel.