NEW YORK – Stocks were little changed on Friday as investors were hesitant to make big trading bets ahead of a statement by President Obama on the progress of budget talks.
Trading has been choppy lately, as investors buy on sporadic dips in the market and react to mixed headlines out of Washington regarding discussions on averting the "fiscal cliff," spending cuts and tax hikes that will come into effect in the new year.
U.S. President Barack Obama plans to travel to a factory in Pennsylvania to press his case on raising taxes on the wealthy to narrow the deficit.
The S&P 500 was on track to end the month 0.3 percent higher, after declining nearly 2 percent in October.
"The correction from the S&P 500's September peak has allowed overbought momentum and optimistic sentiment conditions to recede, and we believe the index is closer to an intermediate-term buy signal than a sell signal," said Ari Wald, analyst at PrinceRidge Group.
After a close relationship for several years, Facebook Inc and Zynga Inc revised terms of a partnership agreement between the companies; under the new pact, Zynga will have limited ability to promote its site on Facebook.
Zynga shares were down 6.5 percent at $2.45. Facebook shares were down 0.6 percent at $27.15.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13.89 points, or 0.11 percent, at 13,035.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.35 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,415.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 3.20 points, or 0.11 percent, at 3,008.83.
Whole Foods Market Inc announced a special cash dividend of $2.00 per share. In expectation of higher dividend tax rates in 2013, companies have been shifting dividends or announcing special payouts to shareholders. The stock was up 1.1 percent at $94.07.
Data showed business activity in the U.S. Midwest expanded for the first time since August, a report showed on Friday, buoyed by an improvement in the labor market.
U.S. consumer spending fell in October for the first time in five months as income growth stalled, suggesting slower economic growth in the fourth quarter.
The equity market's reaction was muted to both data.
Apple Inc's latest iPhone has received final clearance from Chinese regulators, paving the way for a December debut in a highly competitive market where the lack of a new model had severely eroded its share of product sales. Shares of Apple were down 0.3 percent at $587.55.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)