A sluggish start for US stocks following a rough quarter

U.S. stocks started a new month lower a day after the market wrapped up its worst quarter in four years. Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other oil producers bucked the trend early Thursday, following crude oil higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,912 as of 10:04 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 69 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,212, and the Nasdaq composite fell 36 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,583.

JOBS AHEAD: Investors are looking ahead to Friday when the government releases its monthly report on jobs. Strong hiring would likely raise expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its next meeting. Fed officials have said they expect to raise rates before the end of the year.

CRUDE: Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $1.65 to $46.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose $1.02 to $50.07 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

ACROSS THE ATLANTIC: In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.4 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares climbed 0.8 percent.

CHINA: An official measure of manufacturing in China rose in September, up from its lowest level in three years. China's economic growth held steady at 7 percent in the latest quarter ending in June.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "When it comes to China these days, as long as the figures are not terrible they are deemed to be respectable, and while the market is closed for holidays it will entice buyers back into the mix," said David Madden, market analyst at IG. Chinese markets are closed until the middle of next week.

ASIA'S DAY: Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.9 percent, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.8 percent, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.8 percent.

BONDS & CURRENCIES: Prices for U.S. government bonds rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.02 percent from 2.05 percent late Wednesday. The euro slipped to $1.1194 while the dollar dipped to 119.66 yen.