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Stocks close mixed ahead of jobs report

Following a dismal performance Wednesday, the Dow fell about 41 points, the S&P 500 dropped about one point, and the Nasdaq gained about four points

June 2, 2011

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Thursday, June 2, 2011. Stocks closed mixed on Thursday, following a sharp decline Wednesday.

Seth Wenig / AP

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By Abby Schultz and JeeYeon Park, CNBC.com

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Stocks lost steam in the last few minutes of trading to close mixed Thursday ahead of the government's monthly jobs figure and after EU officials said no agreement has been reached on additional funding for Greece.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41.59 points, or 0.34 percent, to close at 12248.55, after plunging more than 2 percent on Wednesday

Among Dow components, Wal-Mart and Chevron traded lower while Bank of America and Caterpillar rose.

The S&P 500 slipped 1.61 points, or 0.12 percent, to finish at 1312.94. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 4.12 points, or 0.15 percent, to end at 2773.31.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, slipped 1.15 percent to end at 18.09.

Among key S&P sectors, industrials and financials gained, while consumer staples and telecoms slipped.

Moody’s warned that the U.S. rating could be placed under review for a possible downgrade if lawmakers in Washington do not make substantive progress in budget talks by the middle of July.

The dollar slipped against a basket of currencies while the euro touched a one-month high.

Meanwhile, Greece agreed with its EU and IMF lenders to impose yet deeper austerity, a senior official told Reuters, but a euro zone official later told CNBC there is no truth to the Reuters report. A Greek official declined comment.

The market tried to find its footing after a sharp selloff in the previous session triggered by news of unexpected weakness in the manufacturing sector and a smaller-than-expected gain in private payrolls, and compounded Moody's downgrade of Greece's debt deeper into junk status.