Following the long Thanksgiving weekend, stocks fell in early trading Monday as worries over U.S. fiscal policy and the Eurozone debt crisis upstaged good news about the holiday shopping season.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 74 points, or 0.6%, to 12,936 shortly after the opening bell on Wall Street.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 6 points, or 0.4%, to 1,404. The technology-heavy Nasdaq lost 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,965.
Major U.S. stock indexes finished one of their best weeks of the year last week, though trading was abbreviated by Thanksgiving and a half-day session with light volume on Friday.
The National Retail Federation reported an increase in Black Friday shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. This year, 89 million people visited bricks-and-mortar and online stores, up from 86 million last year, according to the group.
The White House, meanwhile, issued an economists' report saying consumers could spend $200 billion less next year if middle-class taxes increase as part of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts due to go into effect at year's end. The report also said the gross domestic product could slow by 1.4 percentage points. President Obama and congressional Republicans have yet to resolve the so-called fiscal cliff.
In Europe, finance ministers were reportedly meeting to hammer out a plan to save Greece, the most financially troubled Eurozone country.