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The Dow Jones financial electronic ticker is seen at Times Square in New York on July 17, 2012.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Stocks retreated slightly on Monday, breaking an impressive two-day winning streak as investors await word from three key central banks this week.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,073.01, down 2.65 points or zero per cent.

The broader S&P 500 closed at 1,385.30, down 0.67 point. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 11,757.88, down 8.48 points or less than 0.1 per cent.

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Investors have been anticipating a stimulative response from major central banks, with the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England all on tap to deliver policy statements this week.

The recent rally in stocks began late last week when ECB president Mario Draghi said that the central bank would do whatever it takes to preserve the euro – which was seen by many observers as a sign that it could start buying Spanish government bonds.

At the same time, investors remain hopeful that the Fed will introduce more stimulus of its own, possibly through a third round of so-called quantitative easing or bond buying.

These hopes come amid a dreadful batch of economic news. On Monday, a report showed that manufacturing activity in the Dallas region turned negative in July, falling sharply from the previous month and dashing expectations for a far more moderate decline.

The declines within the North American market contrasted with gains in Europe, where investors are growing confident that the European Central Bank is about to take a more active role in containing the ongoing sovereign-debt crisis. Germany's DAX index rose 1.3 per cent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 1.2 per cent.

The gains come even as Spain's economy contracted 0.4 per cent in the second quarter.

Coca-Cola Co. rose 1.4 per cent after the company announced that it would streamline its global operations.

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 2 per cent after an analyst at Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to a "hold" recommendation from a "buy."

Enbridge Inc. fell 0.7 per cent following last week's news that the company's pipeline through Michigan had sprung a leak.

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