Stocks fell on Thursday, erasing earlier gains that came on strong results from Cisco Systems .

While shares of Cisco stayed sharply higher, all three major indexes fell, continuing a recent trend where equities have been unable to hold onto early gains amid concerns about impending U.S. budget discussions and a debt crisis in Europe.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 52.68 points, or 0.41 percent, at 12,703.50. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 4.67 points, or 0.34 percent, at 1,369.86. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 3.25 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,880.64. (Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Bernadette Baum)