US STOCKS-Futures up as market awaits deluge of economic data
* 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. Continuación...