US STOCKS-Wall St edges up in 2014's last day; energy down again

miércoles 31 de diciembre de 2014 12:53 GYT

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

* Energy shares slump as crude oil weakens again

* Jobless claims rise more than expected in latest week

* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct (Updates to midday trading)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were modestly higher on Wednesday, putting major indexes on track to end 2014 near record levels, though energy shares once again fell alongside crude oil prices.

While the market's seasonal trend of modest moves and low volume continued, there was heavier action in the energy space. Crude oil lost 2.2 percent, the fourth drop of at least 2 percent in the past five sessions, putting the commodity at its lowest since May 2009.

The S&P Energy index fell 0.5 percent as the biggest decliner of the day. It is also the year's worst performer, off 9.3 percent. Among the day's biggest losers, Newfield Exploration fell 1.2 percent to $26.95 while Noble Corp was off 2.2 percent at $16.67.

The broader move higher confirmed Wall Street's recent upward bias. The S&P 500 has risen in seven of the past nine sessions, hitting a series of intraday and closing records. The stock market will be closed Thursday for the New Year's holiday.   Continuación...