* Euro zone finance ministers put off Greece talks
* U.S. private sector adds most jobs since December
* Energy stocks down
* Chubb jumps after ACE’s buyout offer
* Indexes up: Dow 0.55 pct, S&P 0.44 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct (Changes quotes, updates prices)
By Sinead Carew
July 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday afternoon but pared earlier gains as energy stocks declined and Greece’s debt crisis showed no signs of resolution.
The benchmark S&P 500’s energy sector fell steadily throughout the day, dragged down by a slide in oil prices after a report showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose for the first time in more than two months.
Meanwhile, euro zone finance ministers put off further bailout talks until after Sunday’s referendum in Greece and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged voters to reject bailout terms in the vote. On Tuesday, Greece became the first advanced nation to default on an International Monetary Fund loan repayment.
“It feels to me there’s still a lot of money on the sidelines waiting for a resolution,” said Brian Fenske, head of sales trading at ITG in New York.
Fenske also noted some investors were likely holding off ahead of Thursday’s scheduled release of the closely watched U.S. non-farm payroll data. A long weekend celebrating the U.S. July Fourth holiday likely meant some money managers were on vacation, he said.
Stronger-than-expected jobs and construction data supported the market on Wednesday, as did a $28 billion offer from Swiss insurance giant ACE Ltd for upmarket property insurer Chubb Corp.
Chubb’s shares jumped 26.8 percent to $120.58. Rival Travelers Cos Inc rose 2.7 percent, providing the Dow’s biggest boost.
U.S. private employers added 237,000 jobs in June, the biggest gain since December, while construction spending rose in May to its highest level in just over 6-1/2 years, reports showed.
At 2:54 p.m. EDT (1854 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 96.97 points, or 0.55 percent, to 17,716.48, the S&P 500 was up 9.14 points, or 0.44 percent, to 2,072.25, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 14.95 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,001.81.
The S&P energy sector fell 1.6 percent in the late afternoon. U.S. crude oil futures settled down 4.2 percent at $56.96 a barrel. Brent dropped 2.6 percent at $61.95.
Airline stocks tumbled after the Associated Press reported the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating whether some carriers were colluding to keep ticket prices high.
Teladoc Inc made a big splash in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, with shares of the on-demand medical consultation provider rising 55.7 percent to $29.59.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,782 to 1,258, a 1.42-to-1 ratio on the upside. On the Nasdaq, 1,416 issues rose and 1,318 fell for a 1.07-to-1 winning ratio.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 12 new 52-week highs and 22 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 72 new highs and 80 new lows. (Reporting by Sinead Carew in New York; Additional reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Jeffrey Benkoe)