* Trading volume light in holiday week
* Gilead Sciences rises on analyst upgrade
* Oil turns sharply lower, energy cuts gains
* Dow flat, S&P 500 up 0.2 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Dec 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher in a thinly-traded session on Monday as the market’s recent upward bias continued and put the Dow on track for an eighth straight daily advance.
Equities have trended to the upside of late, with the S&P 500 up 5.9 percent over the past seven sessions, ending at its 52nd record close of the year on Friday. The Dow’s seven-session streak is its longest since March 2013, when it rose for ten straight sessions.
The speed and scale of the rally could limit upside, especially in the final trading week of the year, when many market participants are out on holiday and there are few catalysts. Volume is expected to remain light, which could leave the market more susceptible to big swings. The stock market will be closed on Thursday for New Year’s Day.
“Everything is a go right now, but there’s no reason to expect we’ll start seeing big moves this week. I don’t see anything ... that could derail or upset the market,” said Mark Martiak, senior wealth strategist at Premier Wealth/First Allied Securities in New York.
Consumer discretionary names were among the day’s biggest gainers, with the sector up 0.6 percent. General Motors rose 2.2 percent to $34.46 while retail names were also strong on the day. The S&P 500 retail sector rose 0.6 percent while Macy’s Inc added 1.3 percent to $64.90 and Amazon.com was up 1.3 percent to $313.15.
The S&P energy index rose 0.1 percent, well off its highs of the day as crude oil turned lower. Oil fell 1.8 percent, continuing a recent bout of extended weakness, after earlier rising as much as 1.85 percent. Crude has fallen in 12 of the past 13 weeks.
Gilead Sciences Inc rose 3.1 percent to $96.63 as one of the S&P 500’s biggest percentage gainers after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight.”
LiveDeal Inc jumped 23 percent to $4.07 on volume of 9.6 million shares, many times its 50-day average of about 455,000 shares and on track for its most active day since May 28. The move came after the company reported its 2014 results.
At 12:20 p.m. (1720 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.44 points, or 0.01 percent, to 18,052.27, the S&P 500 gained 3.2 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,091.97 and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.02 points, or 0.08 percent, to 4,810.88.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,815 to 1,181, for a 1.54-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,401 issues rose and 1,237 fell for a 1.13-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The S&P 500 was posting 63 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 124 new highs and 28 new lows. (Editing by Nick Zieminski)