(CNBC) U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed Thursday as oil failed to hold much of its intraday gains and investors awaited the key employment report due Friday.
"I think largely it's a combination of both some investors pulling money off the table going into tomorrow's number and certainly the oil market pulling off, that's a big factor," said John Caruso, senior market strategist at RJO Futures. He also noted some pressure from the strong dollar.
U.S. crude oil futures settled up 54 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $44.32 a barrel. Earlier, crude traded more than 4 percent higher to top $46 and hit its highest since Monday. Initial gains were supported by concerns of a near-term supply shortage due to a huge wildfire near Canada's oil sands and escalating tensions in Libya.
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