(CNBC) U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed Thursday, attempting to put a steady start to the fourth quarter, as investors weighed soft manufacturing data and looked ahead to Friday's jobs report.
"I think we had a big rally yesterday, (and) the revival Tuesday to the upside, so we're still digesting that," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at RW Baird. "The primary trend is still down."
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite eked out mild gains in the close, recovering intraday declines of more than 1 percent.
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