The U.S. stock market opened Thursday's trading session higher, but share prices fell throughout most of the session, finishing near the unchanged mark. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down a little more than 18 points to 13,326. The widely watched blue-chip average traded in a range between 13,326 and 13,428.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) recorded a gain of 0.06 percent and closed at $143.36. Volume was light again as investors gear up for the third-quarter earnings season. Around 103 million SPY shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 121 million.

The PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (QQQ), which tracks the performance of the Nasdaq 100, fell 0.31 percent to $66.71. Volume was also lighter than normal in the QQQ with 28.5 million shares trading versus a 3 month average of 35 million.

Crude oil rose on the session despite lackluster risk sentiment in equities. NYMEX crude futures added 1.33 percent to $92.46 while Brent contracts climbed 1.39 percent to $115.92. The United States Oil Fund ETF (USO) registered a gain of 1.33 percent and closed at $34.29.

Gold was also slightly higher on the day, but silver futures fell. COMEX gold added 0.20 percent to $1,768.70 while silver lost 0.29 percent to $34.010. The heavily traded SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD) rose 0.28 percent to close at $171.32.

Money flowed into U.S. Treasuries for the second day, with the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) adding 0.69 percent to $123.66. The yield on the 10-Year Note fell less than a basis point to 1.67 percent.

The U.S. dollar was slightly lower on Thursday. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, lost 0.16 percent to $21.86. The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last up 0.64 percent to $1.2930.

(c) 2012 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.