NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Stocks failed to hold gains during a shortened trading session Friday as investors weighed the latest developments in Europe amid the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

finished 0.1 points lower at 11,231. The

S&P 500

slid 3.1 points, or 0.3%, at 1158 and the tech heavy

Nasdaq

lagged 18.5 points, or 0.7%, at 2441.

  

Gains in Europe's indexes helped the U.S. market look past the lack of a debt crisis solution from the region's leaders for the majority of the session, but the rally fizzled by the 1 p.m. close amid thin trading volumes.

Officials in Italy, Germany and France shot down several proposals on Thursday to try to fix the debt crisis, including the creation of region wide euro bonds. European Central Bank executive board member Jose Manuel said that euro-area nations should not rely on the central bank to resolve the debt crisis.

Earlier, Italy paid record interest rates at a government bond auction in order to raise a planned amount of €10 billion. Italian 10-year bond yields rose to 7.32%, considered far too high to be sustainable. Economists are doubtful that Italy, which faces a debt pile that is 120% of its gross domestic product, will be able to escape trouble purely by way of fiscal austerity.

"The country is also likely to need an external financial 'shield' to protect against destabilizing market dynamics," wrote analysts at Barclays Capital.

Signs that the debt crisis is spreading are rampant. On Thursday, Hungary's debt was downgraded one notch to junk status by Moody's Investors Service. The country said last week it was ready to let the International Monetary Fund assist with its budget deficit, which some economists saw as a desperate move.

The euro was down 0.69% near a seven-week low of $1.33 on Friday. The greenback was gaining by 0.59% against a basket of currencies.

London's FTSE rose 0.7% and Germany's DAX closed up 1.9%. Japan's Nikkei Average closed down 0.06% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.37%.

Some investors are still optimistic that the market will stage a year end rally. "

Europe's leaders know they have to do something about

the crisis," said Craig Callahan, president of investment firm ICON Advisors. "I don't buy in that they're too stupid or indifferent to figure it out."

Helping take the attention off of Europe Friday, was news about businesses taking advantage of Black Friday shopping.

Retailers

such as

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

,

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

,

Sears

(SHLD)

and

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

are expected to ramp up sales. However, leading broader gains in the market today were financials, utilities and conglomerates stocks.

Positive commentary from companies may give sentiment a lift, explained Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "What's different this year than prior years is that stores opened earlier, so the news flow may come in earlier than usual."

In other corporate news,

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

was about flat after the company said it will take a $4 billion pretax charge in the fourth quarter to reflect breakup fees related to its planned acquisition of

T-Mobile USA

, owned by

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

.

The announcement Thursday

is an acknowledgment that the prospects look increasingly bleak for the $39 billion transaction to pass regulatory muster.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management

, a unit of

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

, received permission from the Beijing city government to create a $1 billion RMB fund, according to

The Wall Street Journal

. JPMorgan will become the biggest foreign manager of a yuan-denominated fund to date. Shares were down 0.4%.

The January crude oil contract was up 81 cents at $96.96 a barrel. Gold for December delivery was down $10 at $1686 an ounce.

Ten-year Treasuries were off 14/32, pushing the yield to 1.929%.

-- Written by Chao Deng in New York

.