NEW YORK - U.S. stocks mostly fell on Monday, with benchmark index pulling away from record highs, as Wall Street considered a report indicating better-than-expected growth in the service sector and a Fed official's remarks that the central bank is closer to curbing its asset purchases.

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks mostly fell on Monday, with benchmark index pulling away from record highs, as Wall Street considered a report indicating better-than-expected growth in the service sector and a Fed official’s remarks that the central bank is closer to curbing its asset purchases.

Equities are “due for a pause or a period of consolidation, as we digest recent gains and as we gain visibility into upcoming head winds,” said Terry Sandven, chief equities strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

Fed Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher, one of the more ardent critics of quantitative easing, told an audience in Portland, Ore., that investors should not count on the Fed to continue its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases indefinitely.

“Fed officials are reporting what we already know, that they are entertaining when to ease quantitative easing,” said Sandven.

Fisher’s speech followed an upbeat report on U.S. service industries in July. The Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index jumped to 56 percent in July from 52.2 percent the prior month.

“The economy in general continues to show pockets of strength,” and the services index at a five-month high, along with last week’s manufacturing reading, “suggest we are seeing improving conditions,” Sandven said.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 46.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,612.13, with United Technologies Corp. pacing losses among the index’s components.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 2.53 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,707.14.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. rose 2 percent after the mining company late Friday said it had reached a tentative deal with the United Steelworkers Union on a three-year labor contract covering about 300 workers at its Bloom Lake mine in Fermont, Quebec.

Tyson Foods Inc.’s shares jumped 4.1 percent after the meat processor reported third-quarter profit that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations and projected 2014 sales above estimates.

Fossil Group Inc. fell 6 percent after Barclays downgraded the fashion-accessories maker to underweight from equal weight.

Qualcomm Inc. retreated 0.8 percent after Piper Jaffray Cos. downgraded the supplier of semiconductors for mobile phones to neutral from overweight.

Facebook Inc. climbed 3 percent after Piper Jaffray raised its price target for shares of the social-networking company to $46 from $38.

The Nasdaq composite added 3.36 points, or nearly 0.1 percent, to 3,692.95.

Fisher “has a tendency to be a little less dovish than (Federal Reserve Chairman Ben) Bernanke,” Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, said of Fisher, tongue-in-cheek, after the central banker’s comments Monday.

Fisher’s remarks “could create another bit of angst among people concerned about tapering,” Frederick added of the continuing debate over the timing and pace of possible reductions in the Fed’s $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.

Crude-oil futures declined 38 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $106.56 a barrel and gold futures slipped $8.10, or 0.6 percent, to finish the session at $1,302.40 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Ahead of Monday’s open, Hub International Ltd., a global insurance brokerage, said it would be acquired by funds advised by private-equity investment firm Hellman & Friedman LLC in a deal valued at $4.4 billion.

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