Stocks Edged Lower before Jobs Report

U.S. stocks closed with slight losses on Thursday, after the previous day’s massive gains, as traders were cautious ahead of Friday’s employment figures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.65 points, or 0.21%, to 12,020.03. The S&P 500 fell 2.38 points, or 0.19%, to 1,244.59. The Nasdaq Composite added 5.86 points, or 0.22%, to 2,626.20.

The U.S. manufacturing sector saw a modest acceleration in November as production and new orders picked up, according to a key gauge released Thursday. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 52.7% in November from 50.8% in October.

Foreclosures are setting new records again. The average loan in foreclosure has now been delinquent a record 631 days, according to a new report from Florida- based Lender Processing Services.

H&R Block late Thursday reported a wider fiscal second-quarter loss of $141.7 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a loss of $109 million, or 36 cents, in the same 2010 period. Revenue rose to $129.2 million from $119.6 million.

PVH Corp. late Thursday reported its third-quarter profit rose to $112.2 million, or $1.54 a share, from $99.8 million, or $1.39 a share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue increased 9% to $1.65 billion.

Zynga, the fast-growing online game maker, plans to value itself at up to $10 billion in its initial public offering, according to two people briefed on the matter. The company plans to file an amended prospectus on Friday with an estimated price of $8 to $10 a share, these people said. At that range, Zynga would raise roughly $900 million. The company plans to sell up to 10 percent of its stock to public shareholders.

Oil futures lost ground Thursday. Crude for January delivery declined 16 cents, or 0.2%, to $100.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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