The stock market offered a reminder Friday that even if the U.S. job market is improving, there's plenty to worry about elsewhere in the world.
The unemployment rate fell in December to 8.5 percent, the lowest level in nearly three years. Yet stock indexes teetered between small gains and losses all day as traders fretted about Europe's ongoing financial drama.
Italy's borrowing costs spiked to dangerously high levels and the euro fell to a 16-month low against the dollar. U.S. bank stocks fell on concerns that the debt crisis will spread through the financial industry.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended down nearly 56 points and the S&P had a tiny loss, its first of the year. Both gained more than 1 percent over the first week of 2012.