US STOCKS-Wall St on track for feeble end to tempestuous quarter
* Jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week
* S&P 500 up 1 pct for year
* Indexes: Dow -0.18 pct, S&P -0.23 pct, Nasdaq -0.06 pct (Updates to afternoon)
By Noel Randewich
March 31 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to end the first quarter with a whimper on Thursday after a month-long rally that rescued the S&P 500 from its worst start to a year since 2009.
Worries about a troubled global economy caused a steep selloff in stocks in January, before a rebound in plummeting oil prices cleared the way for a 7-percent recovery the S&P through March that has left the index up 1 percent for 2016.
But Thursday's trading was subdued, with all three major indexes edging lower after three days of gains, even as some fund managers snapped up stocks ahead of the end of the end of March and the quarter.
"A lot of people are trying to hold the market up here because it's going to give everyone a break," said Phil Blancato, head of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York. "We were under immense pressure in January and February to warrant our existence. Clients are going to start getting frustrated by muted returns from equities and fixed income."
Data on Thursday showed U.S. jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week but remained well below the 300,000 mark, denoting a healthy labor market. Continuación...