The Dow is finishing the day up 46 points at 12,985. It climbed as high as 12,996. The Dow broke 13,000 on Tuesday for the first time since May 2008 but couldn't hold the milestone.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished up six points at 1,363. The Nasdaq composite index finished up 24 at 2,957.
Investors were encouraged Thursday by more good news on U.S. jobs, but gains were limited by poor results from retailers such as Safeway and Kohl's.
Volume was light at 3.7 billion shares. Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by about 5-to-2.