* McDonald's up as China demand recovers
* Dow Chemicals, Southwest Airlines up after results beat
* Caterpillar falls after results
* Hospital operators tank
* Futures up: Dow 82 pts, S&P 7.5 pts, Nasdaq 23.5 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 22 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Thursday after strong results from McDonald's and eBay lifted sentiments and jobless claims data supported evidence of a strengthening labor market.
Shares of Dow component McDonald's jumped 7.5 percent to $110.20 premarket after its quarterly earnings and revenue beat estimates as demand recovered in China.
Dow Chemicals rose 4.8 percent to $49.75 premarket, while Southwest Airlines rose 2.9 percent to $42.25 after both reported strong results.
Technology majors Microsoft, Alphabet, AT&T and Amazon are due to report after the close.
"I think expectations are pretty low for everybody and that's probably why you're seeing some beats here," said Tom Cassidy, chief investment officer at Girard Partners.
Cassidy said the biggest factor for investors scrutinizing the reports would be revenue, which has been hurt by a slowing global economy and a stronger dollar.
EBay rose 6.9 percent to $25.88 and Texas Instruments was up 7.6 percent at $55.85 after they reported better-than-expected third-quarter results late on Wednesday.
At 8:35 a.m. ET (1235 GMT), S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.37 percent, with 150,250 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 23.5 points, or 0.53 percent, on volume of 22,482 contracts. Dow e-minis were up 82 points, or 0.48 percent, with 22,695 contracts changing hands.
Caterpillar fell 2.5 percent to $67.90 and 3M fell 0.5 percent to $149.03 after the companies missed revenue estimates.
The dollar index inched up after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged. The index has risen roughly 5 percent this year.
Data showed U.S. unemployment benefits claims increased 3,000 to 259,000 last week, below the 265,000 expected.
Existing home sales are expected to have grown 1.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.38 million units in September. The data is due at 10:00 a.m.
The Federal Reserve, which kept interest rates unchanged at near-zero levels at a September meeting, has said it will wait for signs of global economic resilience before pulling the trigger.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday after a sharp slide in Valeant Pharmaceuticals weighed on healthcare stocks. Valeant's shares were down 9.9 percent at $107.00 premarket.
Community Health Systems sank 20.5 percent to $32.25 after it posted disappointing outlook. Other hospital operators Lifepoint, HCA Holdings and Tenet Healthcare were also down 5 to 10 percent.
American Express fell 3.9 percent to $73.49 after its quarterly profit missed estimates.
Kinder Morgan slid 6.9 percent to $29.25 after the pipeline company said its dividend payout would slow next year. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)