Stocks fell modestly in early trading Friday as investors put a close on a turbulent month of trading.
The dip in major indexes is a stark contrast to the volatile swings that have been prevalent throughout May. Worries about Europe's debt problems have driven markets sharply lower in May.
The Dow Jones industrial average is down nearly 7 percent for the month, which would be the biggest May drop since 1962.
A mixed report on personal spending and income tempered any momentum that investors might have tried to carry over from a big surge on Thursday. The Dow climbed nearly 285 points Thursday, which was the index's second best day of the year.
However, those gains have been scarce during the past month. Investors were spooked by mounting debt problems in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal. There are concerns that steep budget cuts to contain rising deficits will send Europe back into a recession and slow a global economic recovery.
Traders spent most of May driving down the euro, which has become a gauge of confidence for Europe's economy. The euro hit a four-year low and was down as much as 9 percent during the month. The euro fell modestly again Friday, dropping to $1.2343.
Movements in the euro often dictated movement of stocks worldwide. Overseas markets were mixed.
In early morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 32.96, or 0.3 percent, to 10,226.03. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.17, or 0.4 percent, to 1,098.89, while the Nasdaq composite index dropped 10.45, or 0.5 percent, to 2,267.23.
If European debt worries ease further, the focus could return to the U.S. economy. Reports throughout the month continued to show the country is growing, albeit slowly. Earlier this year, stocks climbed steadily because economic and earnings reports showed consistent improvement.
However, a report Friday showed a recovery might be slowing a bit. The Commerce Department said Friday that consumer spending was flat in April, compared with the previous month. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast spending would rise 0.3 percent. It was the first time in seven months that spending had not risen in a month, indicating that consumers are still somewhat tentative about the health of the economy.
Personal income rose 0.4 percent, slightly worse than the 0.5 percent growth forecast by economists.