On Friday, stocks ended their first positive week in four with a down day as investors were reluctant to buy going into a long weekend, with uncertainty still swirling around Europe.
An S&P index of industrial shares .GSPI ranked among the biggest losers of S&P while weakness in large-cap tech stocks like Google Inc (GOOG.O) kept the Nasdaq in negative territory. Greece warnings kept investors in a cautious mood as did Spain after Standard & Poor's downgraded five banks.
A bullish read on U.S. consumer sentiment kept pessimism in check.
"The market is drifting and cautious ahead of the (Memorial Day) holiday. There's no consistency, though we do seem to be digging in after some bad weeks," said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York, which has about $3 billion in assets under management.
"Still we have the overhang of Europe, and just have to hope things don't get worse over there."
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 74.92 points, or 0.60 percent, to 12,454.83 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX dipped 2.86 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,317.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 1.85 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,837.53.