"fiscal cliff" faced by the U.S. government.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended a quarter point lower than it started Monday, at 12,815. It moved between small gains and losses throughout the day.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up a fraction of a point to 1,380. The Nasdaq composite fell less than a point 2,904.
Trading was light. The government and the U.S. bond market were closed for Veterans Day, and there were no economic reports.
The fiscal cliff refers to government spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to kick in at the beginning of the new year, unless Congress and the White House work out a compromise.