* Oil builds on Wednesday’s rally, up nearly 2 pct
* Jobless claims up more than expected last week - report
* Guess, Express Inc plunge on cut in profit forecasts
* Futures: Dow up 4 pts, S&P down 1 pt, Nasdaq down 6.75 pts (Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Dec 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street was poised for a quiet open on Thursday, the first day of December, ahead of a flurry of economic data including Friday’s employment numbers.
Stock index futures were flat, despite oil prices rising to a six-week high of $52.74, a day after OPEC’s decision to cut output triggered a 9 percent jump in oil prices.
Gains in energy shares pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 to all-time highs on Wednesday, but Wall Street lost initial momentum after utility and technology stocks slipped.
The Dow closed slightly higher on Wednesday, while the S&P and the Nasdaq finished in negative territory.
A report showed jobless claims last week rose to a five-month high of 268,000 last week, but came below the 300,000 mark for 91 straight weeks - a threshold that indicates a healthy labor market.
Investors will get a reading on the ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index (PMI), which likely rose to 52.2 in November from 51.9 the previous month. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.
The Federal Reserve could pull the trigger on interest rates when its policymakers meet this month. Improving economic data and Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election have increased the odds of a hike to 90 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The Labor Department’s report on monthly hiring data, due on Friday, could influence Fed’s decision on rates.
Dow e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.02 percent at 8:28 a.m. ET, with 25,027 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 1 point, or 0.05 percent, with 138,595 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 6.75 points, or 0.14 percent, on volume of 21,682 contracts.
“Any type of give-back without massive selling pressures are healthy signs for the overall market and provide an opportunity for people to get in,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth.
Bluebird Bio shares soared 22.6 percent to $74 in premarket trading after the gene-therapy developer said patients undergoing its multiple myeloma treatment showed strong benefits. Shares of Celegene, which is developing the therapy with Bluebird, was up 1.5 percent.
Dollar General fell 7.6 percent to $71.45 after the discount retailer reported a surprise drop in third-quarter comparable sales.
Express Inc fell 17.7 percent, while Guess Inc dropped more than 14 percent after the two apparel and accessories retailers cut their full-year profit forecasts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)