Wall Street was little changed on Monday as investors took a breather from recent gains in anticipation of policy action from the Federal Reserve later in the week.
The benchmark S&P 500 index rose 2.2 percent last week to hit highs not seen in nearly five years, and the Nasdaq rose to a 12-year high, prompting investors to engage in a bit of selling of big-cap tech names that have done well all year.
Technology shares were modestly lower after worse-than-expected data from China. Shares of Apple Inc , the world's largest publicly traded company by market value, lost nearly 1 percent.
Expectations for more stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have underpinned the markets in recent weeks. Friday's disappointing U.S. jobs data further boosted those expectations.
"The market is taking a breather today, waiting on positive news from Europe and the Fed," said Joe Benanti, managing director of Rosenblatt Securities in New York.
The Fed will release its decision Thursday on whether it will engage in more bond-buying to keep interest rates low.
Investors are also awaiting a ruling on Wednesday by Germany's constitutional court on the legality of the euro zone's permanent financial rescue fund, which could derail plans by the European Central Bank for substantial buying of short-term debt.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 7.24 points, or 0.05 percent, at 13,313.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 0.86 points, or 0.06 percent, at 1,437.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 13.27 points, or 0.42 percent, at 3,123.15.
American International Group Inc shed 1.7 percent to $33.38 after the U.S. Treasury Department said it will sell most of its stake in the insurer, making the government a minority investor for the first time since it rescued the company in the depths of the financial crisis four years ago.
Chinese import data showed a fall of 2.6 percent on the year in August, short of expectations for a 3.5 percent rise. Exports grew 2.7 percent, below forecasts for a 3 percent rise in a Reuters poll.
"Bulls got a little bit of cold feet on weak economic data from China," said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA.
The data increased the odds of more Beijing-backed spending to deal with the damage done to the domestic economy by firms cutting production, inventories and imports due to weak global demand.
Plains Exploration & Production Co said it will buy BP Plc's stake in some deepwater Gulf of Mexico wells for $5.55 billion to boost its oil production. U.S.-listed shares of BP edged up 0.2 percent to $42 and Plains Exploration slumped 8.4 percent to $36.94.
Titan Machinery Inc shares dropped 20.38 percent to $20.20 after the farm equipment retailer cut its full-year profit forecast after it reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as the worst drought in 56 years in the U.S. Midwest hit prices of tractors and combines.
(Reporting By Aleksandra Michalska)