US stocks closed little changed Friday to wrap up the week lower, as investors were awaiting the Federal Reserve's closely-watched policy meeting next week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15.93 points, or 0.10 percent, to 15,755.36. The S&P 500 edged down 0.18 point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,775.32. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.57 points, or 0.06 percent, to 4,000.98.
The blue-chip Dow and broader S&P 500 dropped for two weeks in a row, down 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the tech-rich Nasdaq declined 1.5 percent.
The major indices staged a volatile trading session as investors weighed factors such as the timing of the Fed's first reduction in its quantitative easing.
Most traders expressed their optimism at the beginning of this month over the market performance in the holiday season. December is broadly considered one of the best months in a year based on historical data.
However, a string of key data coming out above market consensus in the past two weeks hinted at a possible tapering in the Fed's upcoming meeting scheduled for Dec. 17-18, weighing on the stock market recently.
The U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI) fell for a third consecutive month in November, reported the Labor Department Friday. Data showed the seasonally adjusted PPI for finished goods lost 0.1 percent in November, following a 0.2-percent decline in October.
A lack of inflationary pressure could give the Fed pause as it mulls the future of its monthly asset purchases.
Also, U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a two- year budget plan crafted by bipartisan negotiators, a further step towards removing the threat of a government shutdown early next year. The bill now heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate with a vote expected next week.
An easing fiscal restraint could comfort top Fed officials when they decide to moderate the pace of its asset purchases soon.