U.S. stocks pared early losses and the Nasdaq turned positive on Thursday, boosted by gains in biotechnology and chip stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 55.66 points, or 0.45 percent, to 12,362.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 3.10 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,274.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 1.80 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,650.16.

(Reporting By Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)