US STOCKS-U.S. futures rise ahead of jobs data
* Futures up: Dow 21 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts
By Sweta Singh
July 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose slightly on Thursday ahead of a critical job report that could feed into the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on when to increase interest rates.
* Non-farm payrolls are expected to have increased by 230,000 in June, with the unemployment rate declining to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent.
* The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits is expected to have dropped a bit to a seasonally adjusted 270,000.
* The market was buoyed by stronger-than-expected private payrolls and construction spending data on Wednesday.
* The Labor Department's closely watched report, normally issued on a Friday, will be released on Thursday at 8:30 a.m ET (1230 GMT) because of the Independence Day holiday.
* Should the monthly job data meet expectations, it will be the latest indication that the economy has rebounded from a first-quarter slump and could support a September interest rate increase by the Fed.
* European stock markets were in a limbo and the mood was one of caution with Greece just days away from a referendum that may decide its future in Europe and traders awaiting U.S. data. Continuación...