Stocks ended nearly unchanged after a quiet session as traders weighed mixed corporate earnings and waited for the government's monthly jobs report, due out Friday. A strong jobs report would be good news for the economy, but it could prompt the Federal Reserve to consider raising interest rates next month, which could in turn take some steam out of stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average fell four points to close at 17,863. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,099. The Nasdaq composite fell 15 points, or 0.3%, to 5,127.
In corporate news, Facebook and Ralph Lauren impressed investors with strong quarterly results, but Whole Foods profits slumped. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.24%.