* Oil builds on Wednesday's rally, up nearly 3 pct
* Facebook top drag on S&P, Nasdaq
* Guess, Express Inc plunge on cut in profit forecasts
* Dow up 0.19 pct, S&P up 0.03 pct, Nasdaq down 0.16 pct
(Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Dec 1 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow rose in choppy
trading on the first day of December as the oil rally continued,
but the Nasdaq marked losses due to declines in technology
Oil prices rose nearly 3 percent, with Brent futures
rising to a six-week high of $53.34. The commodity rallied
nearly 9 percent on Wednesday after major oil producers agreed
to cut output and support prices - the first of such a move
The S&P 500 energy index rose 0.88 percent, with
shares of Exxon and Chevron leading the gainers.
Investors are now turning their attention to economic data
to assess whether the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates
at its meeting on Dec. 13-14.
The central bank has been preparing the markets for a rate
increase amid improving economic conditions. Some Fed officials
have said President-elect Donald Trump's policies could boost
inflation, pushing it closer to the central bank's 2 percent
Financial index rose 0.7 percent on Thursday. The
sector has risen 12.3 percent since the November election on
prospects of an interest rate hike this month.
Traders have currently priced in a 90 percent chance of a
rate increase in December.
At 9:41 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
up 36.16 points, or 0.19 percent, at 19,159.74.
The S&P 500 was up 0.69 points, or 0.03 percent, at
The Nasdaq Composite was down 8.32 points, or 0.16
percent, at 5,315.36.
Facebook was the biggest drag on the Nasdaq, falling
1.6 percent, after Canaccord Genuity cut price target on the
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were trading lower, with
bond proxies such as utilities and real estate
being the worst hit.
Bluebird Bio shares soared 23 percent to $75 after
the gene-therapy developer said patients undergoing its multiple
myeloma treatment showed strong benefits. Shares of Celgene
, which is developing the therapy with Bluebird, was up
less than 1 percent.
Dollar General fell 6.4 percent after the discount
retailer reported a surprise drop in third-quarter comparable
Express Inc fell 16 percent, while Guess Inc
dropped 13 percent after the two apparel and accessories
retailers cut their full-year profit forecasts.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,392
to 1,229. On the Nasdaq, 1,183 issues rose and 994 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 39 new 52-week highs and two new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 47 new highs and nine new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by