Stocks fell on Friday despite a strong jobs report as concerns about Europe's debt crisis stayed in the spotlight, keeping investors away from riskier assets.

The economy added 200,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department reported, topping forecasts, and the jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent, a near three-year low. The data added to strong employment reports on Thursday.

Despite the move up earlier in the week, we haven't seen any real conviction from buyers, said Michael Marrale, managing director at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

So I think buyers wait in the wings, and as the market goes higher they will be forced to participate on the long side.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 56.01 points, or 0.45 percent, at 12,359.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 5.39 points, or 0.42 percent, at 1,275.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dipped 6.73 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,663.13.

Market volatility and intraday swings have been more frequent recently as investors struggle between data showing an improving U.S. economy and the threat of Europe's debt crisis spilling over to the global economy.

Curbing enthusiasm in the market, Fitch cut Hungary's credit rating to junk, underscoring doubts about the government's willingness to change its controversial policies in return for aid to stave off a financial crisis.

The euro fell to a fresh 11-year low against the yen on growing unease about funding pressures in the euro zone. The single currency has been closely correlated with global equities.

Adding to the pessimism, German industry orders slumped in November by the most since the height of the financial crisis nearly three years ago.

Alcoa Inc shares fell 2 percent at $9.17 after the largest U.S. producer of aluminum said it will cut global smelting capacity amid a steep drop in metal prices.

(Reporting By Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)