US stocks reversed early losses and mostly ended in the black Thursday helped by data showing solid improvement in the US jobs market in December.
The broad-based S&P 500 closed up 3.76 points (0.29 percent) to 1,281.06, while the tech-dominated Nasdaq Composite added 21.50 (0.81 percent) to 2,669.86.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue chips slipped again in late trade to end barely in the red, down 2.72 points (0.02 percent) at 12,415.70.
Encouraging the bulls were separate data releases showing the job market continued to improve in December. Payrolls firm ADP reported a huge surge in private-sector hiring, at a net 325,000 jobs, much higher than forecasts.
The government's weekly report on new claims for unemployment compensation -- an indicator of the pace of layoffs -- fell slightly, confirming the steady downtrend of the past two months.
But eurozone worries continued to hold the markets back, with the euro falling on heightened worries about Spain's banks and a rise in French debt yields.
"Against this wishy-washy backdrop, the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite clawed their way into the black," said Andrea Kramer of Schaeffer's Investment Research.
Bank of America shares jumped 8.6 percent, helped by unproven speculation that the government was preparing measures to help the housing market -- which would benefit its dead-weight portfolio of bad mortgages.
Retailer Target sank 3.0 percent after it cut its fourth-quarter earnings outlook, citing disappointing sales during the November-December holiday season.
Monsanto, the farm seeds giant, surged 5.5 percent after its fiscal first-quarter earnings beat market estimates.
On the Nasdaq, shares of disk drive maker Seagate pushed up 6.4 percent after it reported revenues for its second quarter that beat analyst forecasts.
The company was less affected than its competitors by the flooding in Thailand, the global disk-drive hub.
Shares of Eastman Kodak lost another 10.6 percent after Wednesday's 18 percent drop, as Moody's downgraded its credit rating deep into "junk" territory citing the high chance of an imminent bankruptcy filing.
Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.99 percent from 2.0 percent on Wednesday, while the 30-year rose to 3.06 percent from 3.04 percent.