NEW YORK - Most stocks lost ground Monday as a stronger dollar pushed down commodity prices and investors grew jittery about the market's six-month rally.
The stronger dollar set off a slide in commodities like oil and gold, which weighed on energy and material shares.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended with a loss of 41 points. For weeks, investors looking to take part in the market's rally have been pouncing on any dips.
Analysts have been calling for a retreat in the market after stocks surged powerfully off of 12-year lows in early March, lifting the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index 57.4 percent.
"This is what should happen, needs to happen, is going to happen along the way, but it doesn't mean we're headed down significantly from here," said Jordan Smyth, managing director at Edgemoor Investment Advisors in Bethesda, Md.
Meanwhile, the market had a mixed reaction to a private research group's forecast of economic activity, which came in just below analysts forecasts but still posted a fifth consecutive month of increases.
The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators increased 0.6 percent in August, just shy of the 0.7 percent increase economists expected, but still enough of a positive indicator to reinforce Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's pronouncement last week that the U.S. recession was "likely over" from a technical standpoint, even as difficulties such as unemployment remain.