Investors fear an economic drop would be unavoidable if lawmakers don't reach an agreement regarding tax issues, spending cuts and the budget deficit by Tuesday.
The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index rose in November, climbing 1.7 percent for the third consecutive monthly gain.
The Chicago Business Barometer rose for the third consecutive month in December, albeit from a 3-year low in September, an Institute for Supply Management report said.
Major market indexes were in the red, Friday. By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 158.20 points -- 1.21 percent -- to 12,938.11. The Nasdaq lost 25.59 points (0.86 percent) to 2,960.31.
The Standard and Poor's 500 shed 15.67 points (1.1 percent) to 1,402.43.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 972 stocks advanced and 2,084 declined on a volume of 2.4 billion shares traded.
The 10-year treasury note was up 11/32 to yield 1.701 percent.
The euro fell to $1.3217 from Thursday's $1.3237. The dollar fell to 85.96 yen from 86.11 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.7 percent, 72.20 points, to 10,395.18.
In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped 0.49 percent, 28.93 points, to 5,925.37.
Pot vending machine to debut
Pistorius testifies he didn't consciously pull trigger when he shot girlfriend