US STOCKS-Futures rise as investors await host of data
* Futures up: Dow 99 pts, S&P 11.25 pts, Nasdaq 34.75 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures started the last quarter of the year on a positive note on Thursday as weak data from China raised hopes of more stimulus measures from Beijing and investors awaited a slew of U.S. data.
* Data showed factory activity in China shrank again in September, leading some investors to believe that the government will be more aggressive in its measures to boost the health of the world's second-largest economy.
* Investors will be looking to put a bruising quarter behind them - U.S. stocks posted their worst quarter in four years, while the Shanghai stock market plunged about 25 percent.
* U.S. economic data due on Thursday includes weekly unemployment benefits claims, which are forecast to have risen to 270,000. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET (12:30 GMT).
* Also scheduled for release is Markit's final manufacturing PMI data for September at 9:45 a.m. The index's preliminary reading came in at 53 earlier this month.
* The Institute for Supply Management's index of U.S. factory activity, due at 10:00 a.m., is expected to have fallen to 50.6 in September from 51.1 in August.
* U.S. stocks closed higher on Wednesday as investors bought beaten-down stocks, with biotechs rising for a second day Continuación...