Stocks turned negative in the final hour of trading to close lower Monday amid light volume, as techs and worries over geopolitical turmoil weighed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.17 points, or 0.19 percent, to finish at 12,197.88, snapping a 3-day winning streak, and after closing in the black last week.
Disney and Home Depot slipped, while AT&T and Verizon led the gainers on the blue-chip index.
The S&P 500 slipped 3.61 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 1,310.19 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq declined 12.38 points to end at 2,730.68. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, rose to trade near 19.
Among the S&P sectors, consumer discretionaries, techs and materials slid, while telecom gained.
“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.)