U.S. stocks trimmed monthly gains, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index clinging to a slim November increase, as investors prepared for policy decisions from central banks while awaiting a slew of economic data this week.

The S&P 500 advanced 0.1 percent in the month as signs of a strengthening U.S. economy offset concerns that the Federal Reserve intends to raise interest rates this year, throttling back on stimulus that has underpinned the 6 1/2 year equities bull market. The rising prospects for tighter monetary policy boosted financial shares to a 1.7 percent gain in November, while utility stocks tumbled 2.8 percent as their dividend yields lose luster as bond rates rise.

The S&P 500 Index fell 0.5 percent to 2,080.67 at 4 p.m. in New York, capping its first consecutive monthly gains since May.

As investors look for further confirmation that the economy is sturdy enough to handle higher borrowing costs, data today showed contract signings to purchase previously owned U.S. homes rose less than forecast in October, showing residential real estate is cooling heading into the quieter selling season. Other reports this week include manufacturing data tomorrow and the monthly government jobs report on Friday.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will speak to Congress on Thursday and the European Central Bank will hold its last policy meeting of the year amid growing speculation the ECB will take additional steps to boost inflation. OPEC members will also meet to discuss oil production.

Source : Bloomberg