* Jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week
* S&P 500 up 1 pct for year
* Dow up 0.11 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq down 0.01 pct (Updates to open)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 31 (Reuters) - Wall Street made a quiet start to the last day of a turbulent quarter in which financial markets were roiled by concerns about the global economy and a steep slide in oil prices.
Investors held off on making big bets ahead of the critical U.S. non-farm payrolls report due on Friday. Crude oil rose slightly, hovering near $40 a barrel.
Data on Thursday showed U.S. jobless claims rose unexpectedly to 276,000 last week, falling short of the 265,000 estimated. Claims still remain well below the 300,000 mark denoting a healthy labor market.
Friday’s report will give investors a clearer reading on the state of the economy.
“Today, we’re just in a do-nothing mode and we will wait and see what happens Friday,” said Matthew Tuttle, chief executive, Tuttle Tactical Management in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Tuttle said he expects trading to be muted as investors brace for an increase in volatility on Friday after the release of the jobs report.
“There’s going to be a big move one way or the other (on Friday), you don’t know which way it’s going to go and you don’t want to put on large bets right before that.”
At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 20.28 points, or 0.11 percent, at 17,736.94, the S&P 500 was down 0.02 points, or -0 percent, at 2,063.93 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.72 points, or 0.01 percent, at 4,868.57.
The 10 major S&P sectors teetered between gains and losses with no clear leaders driving stocks either way.
Investors’ nerves were soothed this week by U.S. Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen’s comments that the central bank should be cautious with raising interest rates.
Yellen’s remarks helped quell speculation that the Fed could be aggressive with its plan to raise rates and pushed stocks to their highest this year. The S&P 500 is now up nearly 1 percent in 2016 after being down as much as 10.5 percent in February.
Investors are also concerned about tepid corporate earnings growth and will keep a close eye on the quarterly reports that start rolling in next month.
Shares of Best Buy were up 2.9 percent at $32.47 after Barclays initiated coverage of the stock with an “overweight” rating.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,459 to 1,103. On the Nasdaq, 1,168 issues rose and 987 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 16 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 14 new highs and 6 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)