* Stock markets close at 1 p.m. ET
* Jobless claims fell to 267,000 last week
* Crude prices up marginally
* Dow down 0.22 pct, S&P down 0.12 pct, Nasdaq up 0.12 pct (Updates to late morning)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Dec 24 (Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed on Thursday as a fall in energy stocks dampened spirits in a shortened trading session on Christmas eve.
Equity markets will close at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) on Thursday, ahead of the Christmas Day holiday on Friday. Volume is expected to be light, which could exacerbate volatility.
Crude prices were up marginally, with U.S. crude set for gains for the fourth straight day.
However, the S&P energy sector looked set to snap a three-day rally, with a 0.67 percent decline. Exxon’s shares were down 1.2 percent at $79.22 and were the biggest drag on the index.
“Market is going to be on holiday mode. I think we’re going to trade in slow motion for most of the day,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
At 11:07 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 39.07 points, or 0.22 percent, at 17,563.54, the S&P 500 was down 2.51 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,061.78 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 6.17 points, or 0.12 percent, at 5,052.10.
Eight of the 10 sectors were lower.
Stocks generally tend to rally in the week between Christmas eve and New Year in what is known as the Santa Claus rally.
Wall Street closed higher on Wednesday for the third straight session this week. The S&P 500 finished 1.24 percent higher, bringing its gain this week to almost 3 percent after a tepid start in December.
Data on Thursday showed jobless claims fell to 267,000 last week, beating the 270,000 estimated. Claims have stayed below 300,000 for 42 weeks in a row, helping the Federal Reserve’s view of a stabilizing labor market.
MBIA shares were up 9.6 percent at $6.84 after Puerto Rico’s debt-ridden power utility PREPA tentatively agreed to restructure its debt. MBIA is one of PREPA’s bond insurers, as is Assured Guaranty, which was up 3.6 percent at $27.74.
Dow component Nike was down 2.3 percent at $62.85 from an adjusted close of $64.36 on Wednesday. The stock’s 2-for-1 share split comes into effect on Thursday.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,617 to 1,228. On the Nasdaq, 1,485 issues rose and 1,082 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 22 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)