GAS PRICE FEARS: Stocks fell in afternoon trading after the International Monetary Fund said that higher gas prices could slow the pace of the U.S. economy and offset the boost from the Federal Reserve's bond-buying stimulus program.
EARNINGS LOOM: Traders are concerned about the effect of higher oil and food costs on corporate margins. Alcoa reported its first-quarter earnings after the bell Monday, the unofficial start of earnings season.
THE INDEXES: The Dow Jones industrial average added 1.06 points to close at 12,381.11. The S&P 500 index slipped 3.71 to 1,324.46. The Nasdaq lost 8.91 to 2,771.51.