A surprise slide in the US unemployment rate to 7.7 percent for November gave markets an initial boost Friday, but stocks ended the session mixed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 81.09 points (0.62 percent) to 13,155.13 in closing trade.
The S&P 500 gained 4.13 (0.29 percent) to 1,418.07, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 11.23 (0.38 percent) at 2,978.04.
"Stocks ended the week mixed, with traders struggling to find direction amid a better-than-expected jobs report and a disappointing drop in consumer confidence, as well as a lack of progress on resolution to the fiscal cliff," said Charles Schwab & Co. analysts.
The November jobs market data came in better than expected, with the economy adding 146,000 jobs, a gain from October's downwardly revised 138,000.
Meanwhile, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index declined to 74.5 from November's 82.7, which had been the best level in five years.
Also weighing on market sentiment was a continued impasse on the so-called fiscal cliff, with top Republican congressman John Boehner saying there was "no progress" in talks about looming tax hikes and spending cuts due in January. In the absence of a deal, the measures were expected to push the country into recession.
Stocks in focus included bailed-out insurance group AIG, which announced Friday it was in discussions to sell a majority stake in International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) -- one of the world's top aviation leasing firms -- to a consortium of Chinese companies. Government-controlled AIG gained 2.6 percent.
Dow member Bank of America was among the most actively traded stocks, rising 1.7 percent. JPMorgan Chase rose 2.6 percent.
Shares of Copper miner Freeport-McMoRan, which lost some 20 percent in two days as investors frowned on its deal to buy two related companies at generous prices in deals worth $9 billion, gained 2.9 percent.
In the technology sector, Apple shares, which have been volatile all week, lost 2.6 percent.
Online video giant Netflix dropped 0.2 percent, a day after announcing it faces a possible penalty from US regulators for comments made by its top executive on his Facebook account about subscriber activity.
Bond prices fell. The 10-year US Treasury yield rose to 1.63 percent from 1.58 percent Thursday, while the 30-year climbed to 2.81 percent from 2.77 percent.
Bond prices and yields move inversely.