* Initial claims data on tap
* Family Dollar falls in premarket after earnings
* Brent crude holds above $51 a barrel
* Futures up: Dow 164 pts, S&P 17.5 pts, Nasdaq 37.75 pts (Adds premarket actives)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, putting equities on track for a second day of gains after the S&P 500 snapped a five-day losing skid and ahead of data on the labor market.
* The benchmark S&P index climbed 1.2 percent on Wednesday, its biggest advance since Dec. 18, to snap its longest losing streak in about 13 months. That came after strong private sector jobs data and minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting reassured investors the bank was in no hurry to start raising interest rates.
* After reaching a record high on Dec. 29, the S&P lost 4.2 percent during its losing streak, amid headwinds from a continued rout in oil prices and the possibility of Greece’s exit from the euro zone following its upcoming elections.
* Investors will eye weekly initial jobless claims data due at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT) for signs of continued strengthen in the labor market. Expectations call for claims to fall to 290,000 from the 298,000 in the prior week. The key monthly payrolls report is expected on Friday.
* Signs of possible stabilization in oil prices helped boost sentiment, as Brent crude held above $51 a barrel, up 0.6 percent to $51.46, while U.S. crude gained 0.7 percent to $48.99.
* Retailers will also be in focus as they report monthly sales results. Investors will monitor the figures for signs of whether lower energy prices have helped boost consumer spending.
* Family Dollar Stores slipped 0.8 percent to $78.25 in premarket trade after the discount retailer posted first quarter earnings.
* Bind Therapeutics shares surged 43.5 percent to $7.39 in premarket trade after the company said it enrolled its first patient in a mid-stage trial for its lung cancer drug. The stock was the most actively traded on the Nasdaq before the opening bell with volume of over 510,000 shares, more than triple its 10-day average.
* Biogen Idec climbed 1.1 percent to $357 before the opening bell after the drugmaker said a mid-stage study of a new treatment for acute optic neuritis showed evidence of biological repair of the visual system.
Futures snapshot at 8:06 a.m.:
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 17.5 points, or 0.87 percent, with 202,452 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 37.75 points, or 0.91 percent, in volume of 32,762 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 164 points, or 0.94 percent, with 34,873 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)