* Both S&P 500 and Dow coming off all-time closing highs
* S&P targeting record intraday high of 1,576.09
* Tesla Motors rallies after profit outlook
* With European markets closed, quiet day expected
* Indexes: Dow up 0.1, S&P down 0.2 and Nasdaq down 0.3
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 1 U.S. stocks fell modestly on
Monday after weaker-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data and
the Dow and S&P 500 slipped from record closing highs reached on
The Institute for Supply Management's March reading on
manufacturing came in at 51.3, down from analysts' average
forecast of 54.2. A figure above 50 indicates expansion by the
In a separate report construction spending rose more than
expected in February, gaining 1.2 percent, compared with
forecasts of a 1 percent rise.
The S&P remains about 0.4 percent away from its all-time
intraday high of 1,576.09, but few catalysts are seen before the
release of the closely watched payroll report on Friday.
Many investors said the market could have more risks to the
downside, with continued uncertainty over the economic situation
in Cyprus, though European markets were closed on Monday for a
"I'm not expecting much to happen in markets before the
payroll report, but with things that quiet, we could be more
vulnerable to any surprise external news," said Dan Veru, chief
investment officer at Palisade Capital Management LLC in Fort
Lee, New Jersey.
Data on the U.S. services sector is on tap for Wednesday,
followed by the Labor Department's March payrolls report on
Economic data has been mixed, but strong readings may not be
a positive catalyst for markets. Investors speculate if the
Federal Reserve views the economy as strong enough, it could
reduce its bond-buying program, which has helped boost equities.
"We want to see progress made in the economy, even if it is
just small and incremental," said Veru, who helps oversee $3.6
billion. "I'd like to see more merger deals announced, which
would give me confidence that there are still gains to be had."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 10.20 points,
or 0.07 percent, at 14,588.74. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was down 2.49 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,566.70. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 9.56 points, or 0.29
percent, at 3,257.96.
Equities rose 10 percent in the first quarter, extending a
string of monthly gains to five. With the advance, the S&P is
now only 0.4 percent away from its all-time intraday high level
The S&P's surge in the quarter has very bullish
implications. An analysis by Ryan Detrick, senior technical
strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati,
showed the index has risen in the three first months of the year
nine times in the past 30 years, and in each case, it has posted
gains for the year.
The average yearly gain after such a start, the data showed,
was 17.56 percent. An advance like that would leave the S&P 500
at about 1,676 at the end of this year.
Despite the positive momentum, some analysts have called for
a near-term pullback, and the uncertainty over Cyprus has
contributed to stocks' trading in a tight range. The S&P 500
traded within 10 points of its previous all-time closing high
for 13 sessions before breaking through.
In company news, Tesla Motors Inc jumped 13 percent
to $42.83 after forecasting full profitability in the first
quarter, citing strong sales of its Model S sedan.
Exxon Mobil Corp continued cleanup of a pipeline
spill that spewed thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude
in Arkansas. Shares of the Dow component rose 0.5 percent to
Dell Inc warned that it would be dangerous to take
on a lot of debt and remain a public company given its worsening
profit outlook, in a sign that it views proposals from
Blackstone Group LP and billionaire investor Carl Icahn
as fraught with risk. The comments came on Friday, which was a
holiday for U.S. markets.
Shares of Dell dipped 0.2 percent to $14.30.