Gains in crude prices gave support to the idea that the economy is strengthening, as did a report that showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week to a near 43-year low.
The data comes a day before the payrolls report for September, expected to show the U.S. economy created 175,000 jobs last month.
The dollar hit its highest since late July against a basket of currencies as the data reinforced the view the Fed may raise interest rates at its December meeting.
Despite the currency's strength, oil prices rose to a four-month high. Crude futures prices have risen nearly 15 percent over the past seven sessions.
Brent crude futures settled up 1.3 percent at $52.51 a barrel. U.S. crude settled up 1.2 percent at $50.44 a barrel, eclipsing $50 for the first time since June.
"Energy is a positive input, the bottoming in energy prices," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
However, he said, traders were in wait-and-see mode ahead of the payrolls data.
"It all is a prelude to the jobs number," he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12.53 points, or 0.07 percent, to 18,268.5, the S&P 500 gained 1.04 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,160.77 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 9.17 points, or 0.17 percent, to 5,306.85.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.26-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.54-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
About 6.32 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 7.1 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.
Twitter shares plunged 20.1 percent to $19.87 as fears mounted that a much-anticipated auction of the social media company will draw minimal interest from potential buyers. Technology news website Recode said Disney and Alphabet would not bid for the company.
Wal-Mart dropped 3.2 percent to $69.36 and weighed the most on the S&P 500 after the world's largest retailer forecast flat earnings for next year.
The largest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 was Whole Foods , which rose 4.9 percent to $29.33.
About 6.35 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 7.1 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.
The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 75 new highs and 28 new lows. - Reuters