NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock prices fell on Monday due to weaker oil prices and disappointing company results, while the dollar retreated on profit-taking ahead of central bank policy meetings in the United States and Japan later this week.
Reluctance to make big bets in advance of these policy-maker meetings lifted U.S. government yields to four-week peaks and German yields to their highest in five weeks.
"This is hardly a big sell-off but we are having trouble breaking through (to new highs on the Standard & Poor's 500 index) because of a lack of consistently good earnings and economic data," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
A surprise drop in new U.S. home sales in March supported a view of anemic U.S. economic growth, which may keep the U.S. central bank from raising interest rates.
The Fed is widely expected to leave rates unchanged on Wednesday, while the Bank of Japan will announce a policy update on Thursday with some analysts forecasting it may push key rates deeper into negative territory.
"Central banks are still the name of the game," said Jan von Gerich, chief strategist for developed markets at Nordea in Helsinki, Finland.
Additionally, there were signs that a three-month rally in equity and commodity markets is cooling.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 26.51 points, or 0.15 percent, to 17,977.24, the S&P 500 .SPX declined 3.79 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,087.8 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC shed 10.44 points, or 0.21 percent, to 4,895.79. [.N]
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index, which hit a three-month peak last week, fell 0.6 percent to 1,364.13 points. [.EU]
Tokyo's Nikkei .N225 ended 0.8 percent lower. [.T]
The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 45 nations, fell 1.05 points or 0.26 percent, to 405.87.
Brent oil futures LCOc1 settled down 63 cents or 1.4 percent at $44.48 a barrel, while U.S. oil futures CLc1 finished $1.09 or 2.49 percent lower at 42.64 following a report that showed a spike in U.S. crude inventory.
A weaker dollar limited the drop in oil prices, keeping them not far from five-month highs.
The dollar index .DXY fell 0.3 percent at 94.82. [FRX/]
Sterling, meanwhile, hit its highest in more than two months as "Brexit" worries ebbed in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks over the weekend, urging Britain to stay in the European Union. The pound rose 0.5 percent at $1.4477 GBP=D4 after hitting its highest since Feb. 15 in earlier trading. [GBP/]
In the bond market, U.S. 10-year Treasury yields touched a four-week high at 1.913 percent as investors awaited clues on future interest rate increases from the Fed. The yield on 10-year German Bunds DE10YT=RR reached 0.278 percent, the highest since mid-March.
Spot gold prices XAU= rose $5.45 or 0.44 percent, to $1,237.36 an ounce on a weaker dollar. [GOL/]
Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Tom Brown