Stocks turned lower ahead of the close Monday as techs and industrials weighed in addition to worries over geopolitical turmoil.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average turned negative after closing in the black last week.
AT&T and Verizon led the gainers on the blue-chip index, while Disney and Home Depot were among the laggards.
The S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq also slipped. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded above 18.
Among the S&P sectors, telecom, energy and utilities gainedwhile techs declined.
“Average investors are not involved in the market," J.J. Burns, president of J.J. Burns & Company told CNBC, pointing to light volume in the market. "Ultimately, when inflation lasts a little longer, we will have reduced margins and prices and we’ll see stock prices lower quite a bit.”
In Libya, rebels pushed west over the weekend to retake a series of towns from the forces of Muammar Gaddafi who have been pounded by Western air strikes, while in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad deployed the army in the country's main port of Latakia for the first time after nearly two weeks of protests spread across the country.
President Obama will make a national televised address Monday eveningat 7:30 pm ET to defend U.S. participation in NATO mission in Libya. (CNBC.com will be streaming the event live.)