Stocks finished in negative territory in thin trading Monday, with the Dow and S&P 500 retreating from all-time highs, as investors looked for catalysts to further propel the recent market gains.
(Read more: Despite 'dull' market, stocks higher by year-end)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished in the red, dragged by Travelers and United Technologies. The blue-chip index traded in a narrow 70-point range all day, but had its worst decline in over a month.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also ended slightly lower. The Nasdaq briefly hit a fresh 13-year high earlier in the day.
Most key S&P sectors closed lower, dragged by energy and utilities.
(Read more: Retail investorsmost bearish in 7 months: TD Ameritrade)
On the economic front, the pace of growth in the U.S. services sector accelerated in July, picking up from a three-year low as new orders surged to their highest level in five months, an industry report showed on Monday. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its services index rose to 56 from 52.2 in June, easily topping economists' expectations for 53. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.
Meanwhile, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said the Federal Reserve is closer to winding down its $85 billion-a-month asset-purchase program following the July employment data, adding that the central bank does not seem to have achieved much in terms of job creation with the QE program.
Last week's closely-awaited U.S. jobs number came in worse-than-expected, with 162,000 non-farm payroll jobs created in July, down from 188,000 in June. Still, Wall Street ended modestly higher, with the S&P 500 and Dow hitting new closing highs.
(Read more: Jobs numbers miss the real story)
Apple gained to a four-month high after the Obama administration overturned an international trade ruling that said some sales of older iPhones and iPads should be banned because they infringe a Samsung Electronics patent. The iPhone maker's stock is up more than 20 percent from its 52-week low of $385 in April.
(Read more: Ban on sales of certain Apple products overturned)
Facebook continued to trade higher after the social-networking giant closed above its IPO price of $38 a share last week for the first time it went public. Piper Jaffray raised its target price on the company to $46 from $38.
(Read more: What to do with Facebook stock amid mobile gains)
Among earnings, Tyson Foods rallied after the meat processor blew past earnings expectations, as strong demand for chicken and beef more than made up for a drop in sales of pork. In addition, the company said it sees 2014 sales above average analyst forecasts.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway edged higher after the company said second-quarter profit rose 46 percent. At least three brokerages raised their price targets on the firm.
High-profile companies scheduled to post earnings this week include Disney, Time Warner, Tesla Motors, Dean Foods and Priceline.com.
So far, nearly 80 percent of the S&P 500 companies have reported second-quarter results, with 68 percent topping earnings expectations and 55 percent beat revenue estimates, according to the latest data from Thomson Reuters. If all remaining companies report earnings in line with estimates, earnings will be up 4.2 percent from last year's second quarter.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index skidded 1.4 percent on Monday, while Australia's S&P ASX 200 hovered around 5,110 points in cautious trade and South Korea's Kospiended below 1,920 points.
However, the Shanghai Composite bucked the trend, hitting a new two-week high, after positive services sector data was released over the weekend. The non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 54.1 in July, well above the key 50-level that demarcates expansion from contraction.
(Read more: This week in Asia, watch China data and central banks)
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
First published August 5 2013, 1:04 PM