In Europe, leaders tried to cobble together another bailout loan for Greece.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 43 points to close at 12,967 Monday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell three points to 1,406. The Nasdaq composite eked out a gain of 10 points to end at 2,977.
Macy's, Target and Saks fell on worries that the strong start to the holiday shopping season may not last.
A report by White House economists warned that consumer spending would suffer if no deal is reached on budget talks.
Three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was thin at 2.8 billion shares.