The Dow Jones industrial average is ending down seven points to 12,789. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose a fraction of a point to 1,387. And the Nasdaq composite index gained a fraction to 2,916.
Hewlett-Packard was among the biggest losers in the S&P 500. HP announced that a company it bought for $10 billion last year was lying about its finances. The stock fell 12 percent.
The Federal Reserve chairman warned that the Fed doesn't have the tools to offset the impact of the so-called fiscal cliff — the combination of tax increases and government spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1.
Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by 5-to-4. Trading volume was lighter than average, about 3 billion shares.