US STOCKS-Wall St drops as cyclicals weigh; small-caps lag
* Focus turns to earnings season
* Defensive sectors outperform for the day
* VIX pops but still at low levels
* Indexes off: Dow 0.32 pct; S&P 500 0.45 pct; Nasdaq off 0.74 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, July 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Monday, retreating from record levels as investors hesitated to make big bets before the dawn of earnings season.
Cyclical stocks, which are tied to the pace of economic growth, were among the weakest of the day, with the S&P industrial sector index down 0.7 percent. The only sectors showing modest gains were defensive groups such as utilities, up 0.3 percent, telecom, up 0.3 percent and consumer staples, up 0.1 percent.
Small-cap stocks also underperformed, with the S&P Small-Cap 600 index down 1.2 percent. The Russell 2000 fell 1.5 percent, on track for its biggest percentage drop since May 20.
Wall Street had hit a number of milestones on Thursday, the final session before the Independence Day holiday, with the Dow topping 17,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 closing at a record high after a strong June jobs report. Continuación...