NEW YORK, RAW – The S&P 500 Index has closed slightly lower after erasing early gains as worries about the Delta variant of the coronavirus and a slowing US economy overshadowed optimism around more fiscal stimulus and a strong second-quarter earnings season.

Data earlier on Monday showed that although US manufacturing grew in July, its pace slowed for a second straight month as spending rotated back to services from goods and as shortages of raw materials persisted.

The softer than expected data also sent US bond yields to their lowest since July 20 and knocked the blue-chip Dow off an intra-day record high hit in early trading.

“An issue for the market… is the rise of the growth scare”, said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at US Bank, “Whether it’s more restrictions in China with infections rising in 14 provinces now, or questions about how far is the US going to have to go with mask mandates.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 101.33 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 34,834.14, the S&P 500 lost 8.12 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 4,387.14 and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.05 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 14,678.72.

Square Inc, the payments firm of Twitter Inc co-founder Jack Dorsey, jumped after it said it would purchase Australian buy now, pay later pioneer Afterpay Ltd for $US29 billion ($A39 billion).

With manufacturing activity data coming in weaker than expected, investor focus now turns to services sector data on Wednesday and the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report on Friday.

After mixed quarterly reports from technology behemoths last week, all eyes this week are on earnings from companies including Eli Lilly and Co, CVS Health Corp and General Motors Co.