Wall St closes lower

Major US markets broadly steady, manufacturing numbers top expectations.

United States stocks have taken a breather from the bull market of 2013, closing lower as some analysts cited profit-taking and speculation of tighter monetary policy.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 77.70 points, or 0.48%, to 16,008.71 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 reversed gains to be down 4.91 points, or 0.27%, to 1,800.9 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 14.63 points, or 0.4% to 4,045.26.

Bill Lynch, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates, said investors may have pushed up their expectations for when the Fed could scale back the program in light of a strong Institute of Supply Management reading on manufacturing activity in November.

More key data will come later this week, he added.

The ISM purchasing managers index for November rose to 57.3 from 56.4 the previous month, against expectations of a slight fall.

"I think there's taper jitters arising again with the ISM numbers being better than expected," Mr Lynch said.

In addition, the Commerce Department said the US construction sector registered solid growth in October, also better than predicted. It was up 0.8% in its best growth result since May 2009.

Investors have also been keeping an eye on data on holiday shopping. The National Retail Federation said on Sunday 141 million people shopped over the big Thanksgiving weekend, up from 139 million last year.

However, the average shopper spent $407.02, down from $423.55, the NRF said.

The most closely watched data point, however, is likely to be monthly jobs numbers, which will be on tap on Friday, US time.

Bond prices declined. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.78% from 2.74% on Friday, while the 30-year increased to 3.84% from 3.81%. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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