* Futures: Dow up 1 pt, S&P down 0.25 pts, Nasdaq up 1 pt
By Tanya Agrawal
March 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday as investors await a raft of economic data to further assess the health of the economy.
* While concerns linger over the state of the global economy, improvement in U.S. economic data, including manufacturing, construction spending, auto sales and private jobs, earlier this week have helped ease some of those worries.
* Jobless claims likely slipped last week as the labor market continues to gain strength. The data, due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), comes ahead of the comprehensive labor report for February on Friday.
* The ISM non-manufacturing PMI index, expected at 10 a.m. ET, is likely to show a slight drop to 53.2 in February from 53.5 in January, suggesting that the service sector slowed slightly, although it continues to expand.
* The calmer mood in world markets showed in the CBOE Volatility index, a measure of investor anxiety, which closed at its lowest level so far this year on Wednesday.
* As of Wednesday’s close, the S&P 500 index is down only 2.8 percent, recouping from a fall of over 10 percent earlier this year.
* Solid economic data could bolster expectations that the Federal Reserve remains on track to raise interest rates this year. Fed funds futures suggested traders are pricing a 61 percent chance of a rate hike by year-end.
* Brent crude prices slipped 0.2 percent to $36.87 but are still up about 35 percent from last month’s lows. U.S. crude futures were little changed at $34.71.
* Shares of Herbalife were down 14.9 percent at $48 in premarket trading after the company said it had overstated growth in the number of new members in some instances.
* Joy Global was down 2.4 percent at $13 after the mining equipment maker’s quarterly sales fell 25 percent amid a commodity slump.
* Tumi Holdings jumped 17.2 percent to $23.59 after the Wall Street Journal reported Samsonite International is nearing a deal to buy the luggage maker.
* Costco Wholesale was down 2.4 percent to $149.10 after the retailer reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Futures snapshot at 7:15 a.m. ET :
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01 percent, with 159,736 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1 points, or 0.02 percent, on volume of 19,176 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 1 points, or 0.01 percent, with 19,445 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal)