Stocks gained momentum after Automatic Data Processing Inc. said 215,000 private sector jobs were added to the economy in December, far more than economists had predicted.
By close of trading, after two sessions of sharp gains, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 21.19 points, or 0.16 percent, to 13,391.36. The Nasdaq gave up 11.70 points, or 0.38 percent, to 3,100.57. The Standard and Poor's dropped 3.05 points, 0.21 percent, to 1,459.37.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,721 stocks advanced and 1,343 declined on a volume of 3.7 billion shares traded.
The 10-year treasury note was off 23/32 to yield 1.921 percent.
The euro fell to $1.3041 from Wednesday's $1.3185. The dollar rose to 87.50 yen from 87.34 yen.
In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.33 percent, 19.97, to 6,047.34.
Markets in Japan were closed.