The fourth quarter got off to a weak start for U.S. stock investors on Monday, with financials, consumer staples and utilities pulling the S&P 500 lower.
Major indexes have bounced between gains and losses in the past few days, with investors nervous about the outcome of a tight race for the White House ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
Big banks extended recent declines as investors worried about the stability of Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and also Wells Fargo & Co's (WFC.N) handling of sales abuses.
U.S-listed shares of Deutsche slipped 0.85 percent as hopes faded of a swift deal with U.S. authorities over a multi-billion dollar penalty for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities.
"The feeling is there will be a negotiation lowering that penalty but it's certainly a bit of an overhang on the overall market," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
The S&P 500 financial index .SPSY declined 0.43 percent as Wells Fargo (WFC.N) slid 1.02 percent to its lowest since December 2013.
Also weighing on investor sentiment was a plan announced by Britain on Sunday to start its separation from the European Union by March.
With yields on U.S. Treasury bonds up following stronger-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data for September, the interest-rate sensitive utility sector .SPLRCU fell 1.35 percent.
The consumer staples index declined 0.6 percent, with Procter & Gamble (PG.N) falling 1.21 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 0.3 percent to end the session at 18,253.85 points and the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.33 percent to 2,161.2.
The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC slipped 0.21 percent to 5,300.87 points.
About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, well below the 7.1 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
S&P 500 companies on average are expected to posts a 0.5 percent dip in third-quarter earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data. That would mark a fifth straight quarter of year-over-year earnings declines, in large part due to weak oil prices.
Tesla Motors (TSLA.O) jumped 4.74 percent after the electric carmaker said third-quarter deliveries rose by 70 percent to 24,500 cars.
Cabela's (CAB.N) surged 15.02 percent after the retailer said it would be acquired by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at about $5.5 billion.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.40-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.40-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 77 new highs and 32 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Frances Kerry and Meredith Mazzilli)