New York, Dec 11 (IANS) The US stocks pared early losses and turned higher on Thursday, as investors were cautious ahead of a US Federal Reserve policy meeting next week, which is expected to raise interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade.

By noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 82.38 points, or 0.47 percent, at 17,574.68. The S&P 500 rose 7.98 points, or 0.39 percent, at 2,055.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 21.74 points, or 0.43 percent, at 5,044.60, Xinhua news agency reported.

On the economic front, in the week ending December 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 282,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 269,000, according to the US Labour Department on Thursday.

The four-week moving average was 270,750, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 269,250.

Energy sector rose nearly one percent around midday on Thursday to lead S&P 500 advancers, despite oil prices continued to hover near a seven-year low after the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided last Friday to keep crude production pumping at current level in an already oversupplied market.

“We’ve seen equity markets correlate fairly closely to the price of crude of late. OPEC apparently swung and missed at their chance to support the price of a barrel when they took a powder last week at the cartel’s big shindig,” said Stephen Guilfoyle, managing director at Deep Value.

The West Texas Intermediate for January delivery dropped 0.43 percent in the early trading Thursday, and Brent crude for January delivery also lost 0.62 percent.

The US stocks closed lower in choppy trade on Wednesday, as weak oil prices continued to weigh on market.