US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of Friday's key jobs data
* Futures: Dow off 8 pts, S&P little changed, Nasdaq up 3.25 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
Aug 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of Friday's crucial jobs data that is likely to give clues regarding the timing of a rate increase by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
* The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite rose on Wednesday following three days of losses as tech shares advanced, while the blue-chip Dow index ticked lower, weighed by Walt Disney's largest daily drop in almost seven years.
* Data showed U.S. private job growth slowed in July, but a surge in services industry activity to a near-decade high suggested solid economic momentum that strengthens the case for a Fed interest rate hike this year.
* The Fed has said it will raise rates only when it sees a sustained recovery in the economy. A hike in rates, which have stayed near zero for nearly a decade, will increase the borrowing costs for companies, crimping profits.
* Data on Thursday is expected to show that the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits last week is expected to have increased by 6,000 to 273,000. The numbers are expected at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).
* Marathon Oil, Monster Beverage and Zynga are among the companies scheduled to report after the close of market.
* With about three-quarters of the companies having reported, second-quarter earnings are estimated to have increased 1.3 percent while revenues are projected to have fallen 3.5 percent. Continuación...