Upbeat talk from the White House on trade negotiations with the China failed to lift Chinese shares. Meanwhile, China's central bank, The People's Bank of China, said it was adjusting its monetary policy to coordinate with government spending.
"Market moves have become more muted ahead of the Easter holidays, while liquidity is also expected to be poorer," Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. "PBOC stated that some positive changes are seen in structural adjustments of the economy in the first quarter, but uncertainties remain," it said.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index edged lower, weighed down by bank shares after Goldman Sachs said it's off to a "muted start to the year," even though its earnings for the first quarter still beat analysts' expectations. Citigroup also slipped following its earnings report, as banks lead off a quarterly reporting season that analysts expect to be the weakest in nearly three years.
The S&P 500 lost 0.1% to 2,905.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1% to 26,384.77 and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.1% to 7,976.01. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks dropped 0.4%, to 1,579.17.
The S&P 500 remains within 0.9% of its record following a torrid start to the year, after the Federal Reserve said it may not raise interest rates at all in 2019. Optimism has also grown that the U.S. and China can resolve their trade dispute. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that the world's two largest economies were moving closer to an agreement.
The yield on the 10 year Treasury note held steady at 2.55%. It has been climbing since late last month, when it fell to 2.37% amid a crescendo of worries that global economic growth was slowing. ENERGY: The price of oil gave back some of its big gains for the year. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 7 cents to $63.33 per barrel. It fell 49 cents to settle at $63.40 on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 17 cents to $71.01. Both remain up more than 30% for the year.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 111.96 Japanese yen from 112.01 yen. The euro fell to $1.1293 from $1.1307. The British pound slipped to $1.3089 from $1.3105.