The Dow and S&P 500 finished a rollercoaster session essentially flat, concluding a bruising week of losses on an uncertain note.
Worries about a recession as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates and inflation tests consumer resilience weighed on the market all week, pushing the S&P 500 into a bear market earlier in Friday's session.
The broad-based S&P 500 finished at 3,901.36, basically unchanged for the day but down three percent for the week.
A "bear market" is a drop of at least 20 percent from a recent market peak. The S&P 500 is currently down about 19 percent from its January high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also unchanged at 31,261.90, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.3 percent to 11,354.62.
The drop in stocks is "generally signalling slower growth at the very least," said LBBW's Karl Haeling, adding that "a lot of people are talking about a recession next year."
Among individual companies, Ross Stores fell more than 22 percent as it joined the list of retailers reporting a drag from higher operating costs.
Deere & Company plunged 14.1 percent despite lifting its profit forecast as the agriculture-focused equipment maker said supply chain problems were affecting production and delivery schedules. (AFP)