Stocks treaded water on Thursday after the previous day's massive gains, but investors worry that recent strong data could set the market up for a selloff should Friday's jobs report fall short of hopes.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 25.05 points, or 0.21 percent, to 12,020.63. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX><.INX> shed 2.37 points, or 0.19 percent, to 1,244.59. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 5.86 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,626.20.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)