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Nasdaq snaps 9-day winning streak as Wall Street pauses before earnings season

  • Some of the major companies scheduled to report quarterly results this week include BlackRock, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
  • Equities have been at record levels on renewed hopes of tax reform and strong economic data.

U.S. equities closed lower on Monday as investors looked ahead to the start of earnings season.

The Nasdaq composite fell 0.15 percent to end at 6.579.73, after hitting a record high earlier in the session. The index also snapped a nine-day winning streak.

The Dow Jones industrial average also posted an all-time high before finishing 12.60 points lower at 22,761.07.

Shares of General Electric were the worst performers on the Dow. They fell 4 percent after the company announced CFO Jeff Bornstein will depart at the end of the year, along with marketing chief Beth Comstock and international executive John Rice.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.2 percent to 2,544.73.

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"It's natural for the market to digest big moves ahead of a major catalyst. In this case, it's earnings season," said Adam Sarhan, CEO of 50 Park Investments.

Some of the major companies scheduled to report quarterly results this week include BlackRock, Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Their shares all declined Monday, putting pressure on the overall financial sector. The Financial Select Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund (XLF) declined 0.4 percent.

Third-quarter S&P 500 earnings are expected to grow by 4 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. During the first two quarters of the year, earnings surged 15.5 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively.

"Growth is likely to come in better than this early estimate. Just like the prior two quarters, this expected beat may be in the process of being priced into the market. If that is the case, we could see a small pullback or pause in the trajectory of the index as earnings season gets underway," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA.

Equities have been at record levels on renewed hopes of tax reform and strong economic data.

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The prospects of tax reform have been a boon to the U.S. stock market since President Donald Trump's election.

Trump "has yet to deliver on cutting taxes and bringing back overseas earnings, but both remain possible," said Ed Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research. "If Trump delivers on deregulation and on tax cuts, smaller corporations might benefit more than larger ones."

Elsewhere, shares of Apple rose 0.4 percent after analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterated its buy rating on the stock, noting the company's earnings will jump under the Republican plan to lower corporate taxes.

—CNBC's Michael Sheetz and Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.