Euro zone finance ministers failed to finalize the details of a debt-reduction package for Greece before the close of their meeting.
Still, European shares reversed their initial losses to close higher fter Reuters reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had told lawmakers at a closed-door meeting that lower interest rates and an expanded European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) could fill Greece's financing gap.
Hewlett-Packard rose after plunging nearly 12 percent in the previous session following an $8.8 billion writedown related to its purchase of Autonomy last year. Still, at least three brokerages lowered their price target on the company, while another two cut their rating. (Read More: In Hewlett's Loss, a Folly Unfolds by the Numbers)
Among earnings, Deere fell after the equipment maker missed earnings expectations, though revenue exceeded consensus. Deere said it is seeing continued strength in demand for large equipment, but did note caution surrounding its U.S. livestock and dairy markets.
Salesforce.com soared to lead the S&P 500 gainers after the enterprise cloud computing company edged past earnings expectations and boosted its full-year 2013 revenue.
Scholastic plunged nearly 20 percent after the children's book publisher cut its guidance for the fiscal year amid lower sales in its high-margin educational business.
St. Jude Medical tumbled to lead the S&P 500 laggards after an inspection report from the FDA cited flaws in the medical device maker's oversight of design changes in its Durata line of implantable defibrillator leads. Wells Fargo lowered its rating on the stock to "market perform." Meanwhile, rival Boston Scientific rallied.
On the economic front, consumer sentiment rose to 82.7, according to the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey. Still, the reading was below projections for 84.5, according to a Reuters poll.
Weekly jobless claims fell to 410,000, according to the Labor Department, matching expectations from Reuters, but the report was still distorted by Hurricane Sandy.
And the leading economic indicator edged up in October, according to the Conference Board, pointing to modest economic expansion growth in the near term.
Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturing grew at its fastest pace in five months in November, according to financial information firm Markit's U.S. "flash" manufacturing PMI.
Weekly mortgage applications eased last week as interest rates ticked higher, though demand for new loans improved, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
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