US STOCKS-Futures rise ahead of economic data
* Futures up: Dow 37 pts, S&P 3.25 pts, Nasdaq 13.25 pts
By Mamidipudi Soumithri and Yashaswini Swamynathan
Sept 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday ahead of a raft of economic data, including a crucial jobs report on Friday.
* The stress on data has become especially apparent after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week that solid performance in the labor market has strengthened the case for an interest rate hike.
* Investors will assess Friday's monthly nonfarm payrolls numbers to see whether robust hiring from June continued through August. A Reuters survey of economists shows that about 180,000 jobs were likely added in the month.
* The biggest question on investors' minds is the timing of the next rate hike, after a host of Fed officials, including Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, hinted at a move as early as this month.
* The Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's policy-setting body, is scheduled to meet on Sept. 20-21.
* Traders, however, have priced in a mere 24 percent chance of a hike this month. The odds rise to 53.6 percent for December, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.
* Analysts have said the central bank is most likely to hold off raising rates in September, given inflation rates that run below its 2 percent target and the upcoming U.S. presidential elections in November. Continuación...