U.S. stocks gained ground late in the session on Thursday, with the S&P 500 trading near break-even as pressure on equities from rising oil prices eased.

Light U.S. crude dropped 2 percent after settlement while Brent dipped 0.4 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 18.77 points, or 0.16 percent, to 12,087.01. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> edged up 0.68 point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,308.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 17.70 points, or 0.65 percent, to 2,740.69.

(Editing by James Dalgleish)