Updated from 4:23 p.m. EDTThe action in U.S. stocks was muted Thursday as traders elected to hold their ground ahead of the monthly jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 6.26 points, or 0.04%, to 13,974.31, and the S&P 500 added 3.25 points, or 0.21%, at 1542.84. The Nasdaq Composite was up 4.14 points, or 0.15%, at 2733.57. Declines in transportation sector indices matched advances in utilities, which lead to the weak advances of the major averages. The Nasdaq Transportation Index slid 0.6% and the Dow Jones Transportation Average slipped 0.2%. On the other hand, the Dow Jones Utilities Average rose 1% and the Philadelphia Utility Index added 0.9%. Breadth was positive. On the New York Stock Exchange, 2.73 billion shares changed hands, as advancers topped decliners by a 5-to-3 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 1.71 billion shares, with winners outpacing losers nearly 8 to 7. Early on, traders were treated to another round of economic data. In one report, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose a greater-than-expected 16,000 to 317,000, above the consensus 310,000. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, said the increase in jobless claims "restores claims more or less to their trend level, after two unexpected declines. These declines were due in part to relatively friendly seasonals but more to a drop in unadjusted claims compared to their prior trend. This has now largely reversed."