The U.S. stock market capped a day of listless trading with modest losses Monday as investors focused on upcoming trade talks between the U.S. and China.

The major stock indexes drifted between small gains and losses for much of the day, though smaller company stocks had their worst day since May. The losses erased some of the market's solid gains from last week, when the benchmark S&P 500 index closed at an all-time high.

The muted trading came as investors looked ahead to a highly anticipated meeting between the leadership of the U.S. and China later this week. The world's two largest economies have been embroiled in a trade war that has taken the market on a volatile roller-coaster ride this year and Wall Street is hoping for a deal.

"The market right now seems to be pricing in some combination of at least a de-escalation between the U.S. and China from a trade standpoint to the point where it doesn't drive us into a recession," said Michael Crook, head of Americas investment strategy at UBS Global Wealth Management.

The S&P 500 index slipped 5.11 points, or 0.2%, to 2,945.35. The index is about 0.3% below the record high it set on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.41 points, or less than 0.1%, to 26,727.54. The Nasdaq composite dropped 26.01 points, or 0.3%, to 8,005.70. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slid 19.54 points, or 1.3%, to 1,530.08, its biggest single-day loss since May 31.

Major indexes in Europe finished mostly lower.

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