Stocks fell on Thursday, but were well off the lows of the session as investors snapped up beaten-down shares.

Indexes were down for a fourth day, falling more than 1 percent a day after the stock market recorded its worst quarterly performance since late 2008.

Among gainers, shares of Ford Motor rose 3.2 percent to $10.40 after the automaker reported June sales gained 15 percent.

It's probably an oversold bounce back up to levels from earlier in the day, said Tom Schrader, managing director for U.S. equity trading at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore.

Stocks fell on disappointing manufacturing and housing data that underscored the view the recovery is slowing.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 42 points, or 0.4 percent, at 9,734. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 4 points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,026. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 12 points, or 0.6 percent, at 2,098.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)