By Noel Randewich
(Reuters) – Wall Street closed lower on Monday as investors fretted about Greece’s precarious financial condition and slowing growth in China, while energy stocks fell on weaker oil prices.
U.S. stocks, which rallied on Friday on a strong jobs report, have been trading at historically expensive valuations, fueled by ultra-low borrowing costs.
Investors took a pessimistic view of Europe as finance ministers met to discuss a cash-for-reforms deal for Greece, even though the country said it made a payment of about 750 million euros ($836 million) to the IMF.
They also focused on China, which cut interest rates for the third time in six months on Sunday in a bid to stoke a sputtering economy that is headed for its worst year in a quarter of a century.
“Given the level of investor angst, today’s selloff was modest,” said Michael Farr, president of Farr, Miller & Washington in Washington, D.C.
All of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were down, led by the energy index <.SPNY>, which fell 2.05 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 85.94 points, or 0.47 percent, to end at 18,105.17.
The S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 10.77 points, or 0.51 percent, to 2,105.33 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 9.98 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,993.57.
April payroll data out last Friday indicated U.S. economic growth was picking up, but not enough to raise concerns about an earlier-than-expected interest-rate rise by the Federal Reserve.
“People are still concerned about whether we will have a liftoff in the fall or not. That’s the big driver,” said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors Inc in San Antonio.
U.S. light crude <CLc1> fell on signs that U.S. shale oil production was recovering.
Apple <AAPL.O> was the biggest drag on the Nasdaq, with its shares ending down 1.02 percent. Smartphone shipments in China shrank for the first time in six years, according to market research firm IDC.
The S&P 500 <.SPX> is trading at 17 times expected earnings, compared with its 10-year median average of 15, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. It is 0.58 percent short of its all-time record high close set in late April.
Rosetta Resources <ROSE.O> soared 27.19 percent after Noble Energy <NBL.N> said it would buy the company for about $2 billion. Noble ended down 6.21 percent.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,983 to 1,071, for a 1.85-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,442 issues rose and 1,303 fell for a 1.11-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 66 new highs and 40 new lows.
About 5.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.8 billion daily average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.
(Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Nick Zieminski)