Stocks mixed on Europe worries, positive jobs news

The Dow Jones industrial average posted its first loss of the year, but just barely.

The Dow recovered from a 134-point loss to end down just under 3 points at 12,416 Thursday. The Dow had climbed on the first two trading days of the year.

Other indexes were positive. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed up 4 points at 1,281. The Nasdaq rose 22 points to 2,670.

Stocks spent the morning underwater. Worries about Europe’s financial crisis appeared to outweigh a jobs report that showed a drop in new applications for unemployment insurance.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 3-to-2. Volume was average at 4.2 billion shares.