Stocks erased earlier gains to end lower on Thursday as cheer over the European Central Bank's unexpected rate cut faded, a day ahead of the government's monthly payrolls report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 8 points down, the S&P 500 slid 3 points and the Nasdaq lost 10 points. "The ECB is behind us, and what's the next catalyst? The jobs report tomorrow has pulled our enthusiasm," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. The ECB lowered its benchmark interest rate to 0.05 percent, and cut its deposit facility to minus 0.2 percent. The central bank's "non-conventional methods of easing credit will hopefully boost inflation and reverse the deflationary scenario," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. Earlier, markets were also buoyed by the August ADP employment report that found the private sector added 204,000 last month. Separately, the government reported 302,000 jobless claims were filed last week.On Friday, the nonfarm payrolls report is expected to show an increase of 225,000 last month after advancing by 209,000 in July, according to a Reuters survey of economists.
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