New York - Wall Street stocks fell early on Monday, pausing from the rally of the last three weeks ahead of a much-anticipated European Central Bank meeting.
About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 16 977.46, down 29.31 points (0.17%).
The broad-based S&P 500 shed 9.84 (0.49%) at 1 990.15, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 29.41 (0.62%) to 4 687.61.
The S&P 500 closed a hair under 2 000 Friday, a solid comeback after falling below 1 830 in early February.
The rally "has been a huge run for the market against a backdrop of declining earnings estimates and weak global growth," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.
Thursday's meeting of the ECB is expected to result in another round of stimulus measures to counter the risk of deflation in the 19-nation eurozone.
Dow member DuPont rose 2.4% following a report that German chemical company BASF is considering a counterbid for the US company, potentially overtaking DuPont's planned merger with Dow Chemical. Dow lost 0.3%.
Furniture and home-furnishings retailer Pier 1 Imports jumped 16.8% after announcing that it expects fourth-quarter comparable sells dipped 0.7%, better than the prior projection of a decline of between two and four percent.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals rose 5.8% after announcing it will release fourth-quarter earnings on March 15. Valeant previously withdrew its financial forecast amid an internal review of its accounting practices and said it was under investigation by US regulators.
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