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US stocks mostly fall as bank shares retreat

Some committee members were concerned "equity prices were high," meaning Wall Street was running too hot, when judged against standard measures for valuing companies (AFP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

New York (AFP) - US stocks were under pressure Monday, with banking shares in retreat on doubts Washington will be able to enact regulatory relief for the sector anytime soon.

Banks have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the post-election stock rally due to expectations President Donald Trump will pull back on tough new rules planned or implemented after the 2008 financial crisis. But shares JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and others all fell Monday.

"The banks are under pressure because regulatory reform is not moving quickly and the banks are having a tough quarter," said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial.

Wells Fargo was among the hardest hit, losing 1.8 percent after disclosing that new credit-card applications in February fell 55 percent from the year-ago period, the latest drag from a fake accounts scandal that has roiled the bank.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost less than 0.1 percent to close the trading session at 20,905.86.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.2 percent to end at 2,373.47, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose a hair to 5,901.31.

Caterpillar jumped 2.7 percent after disclosing that machine sales in Asia-Pacific jumped 39 percent over the last three months compared with the year-ago period. Worldwide machine sales dropped one percent over that period.

Advanced Micro Devices jumped 6.8 percent after a note from Jefferies investment bank lifted its sales estimate for the company in anticipation of new product launch.