Stocks closed modestly higher Friday in a light-volume session ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, led by materials, as commodities gained on the heels of a weaker U.S. dollar. However, the major averages finished lower for the fourth consecutive week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 38.82 points, or 0.31 percent, to 12,441.58.
Among the blue-chip index, Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson led the gainers on Friday, while Intel slumped more than 1 percent.
The S&P 500 rose 5.41 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,331.10. The Nasdaq gained 13.94 points, or 0.50 percent, to 2,796.86.
For the week, the Dow lost 0.56 percent, the S&P shed 0.16 percent and the Nasdaq dropped 0.23 percent.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, finished at 16.01, sliding 8.15 percent for the week.
Most key S&P 500 sectors gained on Friday, led by financials and materials, while energy sagged.
In an environment of "light volume, light risk, people don't want to stick their neck out," said Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist at Channel Capital Research.
The markets also are getting support from traders who are beginning to expect the Federal Reserve will have to take action to stimulate the economy, following a number of reports hinting at an economic slowdown.
"We’re hitting one of these patterns in the markets when bad news is good news and good news is great news," said Todd Schoenberger, managing director at LandColt Trading. There's an anticipation among traders that "something is going to happen."
Still, while May was a bad month for stocks, June may be worse, if you consider history, according to Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak. "Dating back to the secular bear market’s beginning, June has been flat or down 73 percent of the time," Greenhaus wrote in a note to clients.