NEW YORK -- Two signs of trouble elsewhere in the world pushed U.S. stocks lower: slowing economic growth in China and a possible hitch in a deal to get Greece its bailout money.
Much of the pessimism in the market stemmed from China's premier, Wen Jiabao, lowering China's target rate for economic growth to 7.5 percent from 8 percent, where it has stood for years. That's a negative sign because growth in China has been a key factor shoring up the global economy since the financial crisis of 2008.
Also weighing on the market were worries that not enough private investors will participate in a bond swap in Greece and accept bonds of lower face value and lower returns.
--The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14.76, or 0.1 percent, to close at 12,962.81.
--The S&P 500 fell 5.30, or 0.4 percent, to close at 1,364.33.
--The Nasdaq composite fell 25.71, or 0.9 percent, to 2,950.48.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. factory orders fell in January by the most in 15 months after businesses sharply reduced orders for machinery and equipment.
The decrease was largely expected after a tax cut expired at the end of last year. Even with the decline, orders have gradually been climbing back to near pre-recession levels.
The Commerce Department said Monday that factory orders fell 1 percent in January.
That lowered overall demand for factory goods to $462.6 billion, or 37.7 percent above the recession low in March 2009. Demand is now just 4.6 percent below the peak set in June 2008.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. service companies expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year, helped by a rise in new orders and job growth.
The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 57.3, up from January's 56.8 and the third consecutive increase. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Expansion in the service sector coincides with the lowest unemployment in three years, five consecutive months of solid to strong job growth and rising consumer confidence.
OMAHA, Neb. -- Berkshire Hathaway is eliminating the news conference Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger traditionally hold as part of the festivities around the company's annual shareholder meeting.
A spokeswoman said Monday that it is being eliminated because of time constraints for the company's top two executives.
In previous years, the news conference was held on Sunday of the shareholder weekend, one day after Buffett and Munger spent nearly six hours answering questions in front of more than 30,000 people. This year's meeting will be held May 5.
TRENTON, N.J. -- Federal regulators have rejected Merck & Co.'s new combination cholesterol drug, which includes a generic version of the mega-blockbuster Lipitor -- at least for now.
It's unclear how long the ruling, announced Monday, might delay approval of the drug, as the Food and Drug Administration is requiring additional data on the compound. It combines generic Lipitor, the top-selling drug of all time, with Merck's cholesterol medicine Zetia.
Approval could boost Merck's sagging cholesterol franchise by essentially replacing its existing combo pill, Vytorin. Vytorin sales have been dwindling for a few years due to concerns about how well it works, and now Merck has to contend with patients possibly defecting to the new generic versions of Lipitor.