Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 1, 2011. REUTERS

US stocks ended mixed in light volume as traders wait for Friday’s all-important Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report.

The S&P 500 Index lost 2.43 points, or 0.18 percent, to end at 1,325.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 30.88 points, or 0.25 percent, to close at 12,319.73.

The Nadasq Composite managed to rise 0.15 percent as technology stocks like Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), Infosys (NASDAQ:INFY), and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) all rallied at least 1 percent.

The S&P 500 and Dow declined, however, as traders remained cautious before Friday’s report; many are hesitant to put in new positions while others have sized down existing positions.

Two previous jobs reports this week – the ADP non-farm payrolls change and weekly initial jobs claims – came in slightly below expectations. However, they have recently been poor predicators of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs data.

For the BLS report, economists expected it to show a gain of 185,000 for February US non-farm payrolls. A moderate surprise will shed light on the state of economy and strength of future corporate earnings. A large surprise may have implications for US monetary policy and the Federal Reserve’s program of quantitative easing.