FLAT DAY: Stocks finished about where they started Friday as investors balanced positive signs for the U.S. economy with a looming deadline for a deficit-cutting committee in Congress.

DOWN WEEK: Steep declines earlier in the week left the market with its worst weekly loss since September. The S&P 500 lost 3.8 percent.

THE DOW: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 25 points to close at 11,796. The Dow traded in a relatively narrow range, rising as many as 84 points and falling as many as 15.