The Dow Jones industrial average was up for most of the day in the post-Thanksgiving session but lost steam, finishing down 10.92 points, or 0.1 percent, at 16,086.41. The Dow was up as much as 77 points earlier in the day.
Nonetheless, the blue-chip index finished the week higher for the eighth straight week, gaining 3.5 percent in November, its third-consecutive monthly rise.
The S&P 500 index closed at 1,805.81, down 1.42 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1805.81, finishing the week 0.1 percent higher and ending the month up 2.8 percent. Like the Dow, it finished the week higher eight weeks in a row, giving the index its longest weekly gains streak since a nine-week stretch that ended Jan. 23, 2004.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index added 15.14 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 4059.89.
The Nasdaq Composite added 3.6 percent in November.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,661 issues advanced while 1,343 declined on a trading volume of 1.6 billion shares.
The trading session ended at 1 p.m. EST, 3 hours earlier than usual. Many traders were on vacation after Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday.
The London FTSE 100 index shed 3.9 points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,650.57. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gave up 65.25 points, or 0.4 percent, ending at 15,661.87.
Spain's IBEX 35 index closed down 0.3 percent at 9,826.80 after trading higher most of the session after S&P raised its outlook on the country's sovereign debt to stable from negative.
By contrast, the Dutch AEX index slipped less than 0.1 percent at 396.55 after S&P stripped the Netherlands of its triple-A credit rating, lowering it to double-A-plus, on growth concerns.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.754 percent from 2.739 percent late Wednesday.
In the currency markets, the euro edged lower against the dollar to $1.3588. The dollar rose to 102.44 against the yen in light volume. The yen is down almost 18 percent against the euro this year and down 15 percent against the dollar.
January crude oil futures advanced 48 cents, or 0.6 percent, on the New York Mercantile Exchange to settle at $92.78 a barrel after settling at a near six-month low Wednesday.
On the exchange's Comex division, gold futures gained $13.50, or 1 percent, at $1,250.70 an ounce.
Wheat for March delivery rose 5.25 cents to end at $6.688 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat notched a 0.8 percent weekly gain but was down 1.9 percent for the month.
Corn for March delivery corn fell 2 cents to 4.2450 a bushel, while March oats were 2.25 cents higher at $3.3150 a bushel.
January soybeans advanced 16.50 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $13.365 a bushel.