Stocks are getting the fourth quarter off to a weak start as investors wait for the government's monthly jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12 points, or 0.1%, to 16,271 on Thursday. The S&P 500 rose three points, or 0.2%, to 1,923. The Nasdaq composite gained six points, or 0.2%, to 4,627.
A strong hiring report Friday would likely raise expectations that the Federal Reserve will increase its benchmark interest rate before the end of the year. Dunkin' Brands fell 10% Thursday after the company said it expects sales to slow at its doughnut shops. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.03% from 2.05% a day earlier. (Read more Dow Jones stories.)