The Dow industrials and the S&P 500 indexes briefly turned negative and the Nasdaq pared gains on Thursday as renewed unease about the economy offset gains in defensive stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> shed 0.56 points, or 0.01 percent, to 8,284.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 0.37 points, or 0.04 percent, to 883.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 5.72 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,669.91

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)