* Dow, S&P 500 hit closing highs on Wednesday
* Energy in focus amid recent volatility
* Tesla rallies in premarket after results
* Futures: Dow down 4 pts, S&P down 2.25 pts, Nasdaq flat
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Nov 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, as investors held off on making bets with key indexes at record levels and looked toward Friday’s closely watched payrolls report for trading incentives.
* Both the Dow and S&P 500 hit closing highs Wednesday after the Republican Party took control of the Senate in the midterm elections, allaying fears of drawn-out runoff votes and raising hopes for business- and energy-friendly policies.
* Equities have been strong of late, with the benchmark S&P 500 rising in ten of the past 16 sessions, and only recording modest losses on its down days. The index has not closed with a loss of 1 percent since Oct. 13; it has had five days with a gain of that magnitude since then.
* Tesla Motors Inc was the most active name of Nasdaq’s premarket session, jumping 5 percent to $242.60 a day after its third-quarter results beat expectations. The electric car maker also said production of its next vehicle would be delayed until the autumn of 2015.
* Energy shares will continue to be in focus amid heavy volatility. The sector, the only one of the ten primary S&P 500 industry groups to have negative year-to-date returns, has been heavily pressured by a massive drop in the price of oil. Crude prices were off 0.3 percent to $78.46 per barrel.
* Over the past 14 sessions, the S&P energy sector has posted a daily move of 14.93 points, compared with 5.4 points in late August.
* Investors are looking ahead to the latest jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT), which is expected to drop by 2,000 to 285,000 in the latest week.
* That follows Wednesday’s ADP National Employment report which showed more jobs were added in October than expected, raising hopes for Friday’s payroll data. The latter is expected to show 231,000 jobs added in October, down from the 248,000 in the previous month.
Futures snapshot at 6:49 a.m.:
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.11 percent, with 96,229 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis remained unchanged, in volume of 15,335 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 4 points, or 0.02 percent, with 19,124 contracts changing hands.
Editing by Bernadette Baum