US STOCKS-Futures tick up as strong 2014 draws to a close

miércoles 31 de diciembre de 2014 09:22 GYT

* Trading expected to be light in final day of the year

* Energy could be in focus as crude oil continues to weaken

* Investors looking at jobless claims data, pending home sales

* Futures up: Dow 16 pts, S&P 3.75 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts (Updates prices, adds NephroGenex study)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday, suggesting Wall Street would end a strong year with minor gains in a seasonal trend of modest moves and low volume.

While some traders are out on holiday and others were waiting until 2015 to make major position changes, energy shares will likely be in focus on what looks to be a quiet day as crude oil prices fell 2.4 percent.

Oil prices have been pressured by weakening demand and a supply glut. Down about 46 percent for the year, oil prices were on track for their biggest decline since 2008, hovering around their lowest since May 2009.

The S&P Energy index is the year's worst-performing sector by far, off 9.3 percent. The only other sector in negative territory is telecoms, down 0.7 percent. The year's top performers are utilities, up 26.6 percent, followed by health care, up 24.5 percent.   Continuación...