When the S&P 500 closed at 1,145.61 on Wednesday, it looked poised to challenge the 2010 high of 1,150.
However, without any market-moving news Thursday and Friday, the index failed to sustain any meaningful rally above the level as the market pauses before the Fed Reserve interest rate decision and statement next Tuesday.
The Fed is widely expected to pledge to keep interest rates low for an extended period.
On Friday, the S&P 500 Index closed down 0.25 points, or 0.02 percent, at 1,149.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 12.85 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 10,624.69. The Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.03 percent.
Although retail sales beat expectations, it did spark not enough enthusiasm to push the S&P 500 to close for a gain.
Census Bureau reported at 8:30 am EST that retail sales grew 0.3 percent from the previous month and 3.9 percent from a year ago. Excluding autos, the figure grew 0.8 percent from the previous month. Both readings were above the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Initially, futures on crude oil and futures on the S&P 500 responded favorably to the report. However, enthusiasm faded as both instruments quickly declined and then traded mostly flat for the remainder of the session.
The market then largely ignored a lower than expected consumer confidence report from the University of Michigan that was released later in the session.