* Futures up: Dow 60 pts, S&P 6.75 pts, Nasdaq 15.5 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Sept 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday ahead of a raft of economic data, including a report on retail sales, that will indicate if the economy is healthy enough to absorb an interest rate hike.
* Retail sales in August likely slipped 0.1 percent, after being unchanged the previous month, due to weak demand for automobiles. The report from the U.S. Commerce Department is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).
* Also due are reports on producer price index, industrial output and weekly jobless claims - the last major blast of economic reports before the data-dependent Federal Reserve holds its policy-setting meeting next week.
* Fed officials have made contrasting comments in the past few days on the likelihood of a rate hike at the meeting, leaving investors jittery and leading to a spike in volatility and volumes in the equity markets.
* Also supporting futures on Thursday was a rebound in oil prices, after two days of steep declines, following an unexpected drop in U.S. crude inventories.
* Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday as a drop in energy stocks outdid a stellar rise in Apple.
* The stock was up 1.05 percent in premarket trading on Thursday, set for its fourth straight day of gains, after Apple said the first batch of the iPhone 7 Plus sold out.
* Aerie Pharmaceuticals soared nearly 54 percent to $32.50 after its eye drug was successful in a trial.
* Bluebird rose 4.5 percent to $65.75 after Goldman Sachs added the biotechnology company to its conviction list with a “buy” rating.
Futures snapshot at 7:07 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were up 60 points, or 0.33 percent, with 26,575 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 6.75 points, or 0.32 percent, with 183,317 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 15.5 points, or 0.33 percent, on volume of 26,922 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)