Stocks fell on Thursday as investors turned cautious before the government's crucial July jobs report, and took profits after a recent rally.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 24.71 points, or 0.27 percent, to end unofficially at 9,256.26. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> lost 5.65 points, or 0.56 percent, to finish unofficially at 997.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 19.89 points, or 1.00 percent, to

close unofficially at 1,973.16.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jan Paschal)