US STOCKS-Futures little changed as investors await jobs data
* Futures up: Dow 24 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 10.5 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday ahead of the crucial monthly nonfarm payrolls data.
* The Labor Department's report is expected to show an addition of 190,000 jobs in February and that the rate of unemployment remained at an eight-year low. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT).
* An upbeat jobs report will add to a recent string of positive data that points to a modest recovery in the U.S. economic growth, and strengthen the Federal Reserve's case to gradually raise interest rates this year.
* With corporate earnings winding down, investors will now focus on macro-economic data as they wait for the Fed's next move. The central bank's rate-setting committee is scheduled to meet on March 15-16.
* Stock markets worldwide edged higher as investor concerns about a weakening global economy eased, following encouraging data from major economies this week. Crude prices rose slightly.
* Wall Street closed higher on Thursday as the energy sector moved into positive territory for the year.
* Also due at 8:30 is data by the Commerce Department that is likely to show the trade deficit widened to $44 billion in January from $43.4 billion in December. Continuación...