* Wall St comes off extended decline
* Data on retail sales, jobless claims on tap
* Citigroup up in premarket after Fed review
* Futures up: Dow 45 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 10 pts (Updates prices)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Thursday, suggesting a partial rebound following recent declines, as investors looked ahead to data for indications of how soon the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates.
Wall Street has been on a downtrend of late, with the S&P 500 falling for eight of the past 11 sessions, shedding 3 percent over the past four sessions alone.
The weakness has largely been driven by concerns the Fed could raise rates as early as June. Last week’s payroll report, which was much stronger than expected, solidified this view, as the central bank said it would begin raising rates when it deemed the economy strong enough to handle it.
While data on wage growth and inflation suggest the Fed could hold off raising rates past June, further signs of growing economic momentum could add to investor anxiety on the issue, even though stronger indicators are seen as more positive for the market in the long term. Higher rates tend to raise borrowing costs for companies and individuals and crimp spending.
Jobless claims are seen falling by 15,000 to 305,000 in the latest week. The report will be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), as will February retail sales, which are expected to show a rise of 0.3 percent. Investors are looking to see whether recent weakness in oil prices will translate to higher spending on other items by consumers as they save on gas.
The U.S. dollar index fell 0.7 percent, though it remains up about 10 percent for the year, building on last year’s rise of nearly 13 percent. The strength in the dollar has added to worries the currency will continue to weigh on U.S. multinational earnings. S&P 500 earnings are now expected to decline 2.7 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Lumber Liquidators jumped 13 percent in volatile premarket trading after the company, which is facing U.S. government investigations over claims of dangerous levels of a cancer-causing substance in its flooring products, stood by the safety its products and offered free indoor air-quality testing for qualifying consumers.
Bank stocks were active in premarket trading following the Fed’s review of their capital plans. Shares of Bank of America dipped 0.4 percent to $16.05 after the Fed approved its capital plans but directed the bank to address process weaknesses. Citigroup jumped 3.3 percent to $54.08.
JA Solar rose 3.4 percent in premarket after the company reported its results.
Futures snapshot at 7:40 a.m. EDT:
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.5 points, or 0.22 percent, with 125,935 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10 points, or 0.23 percent, in volume of 18,576 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 45 points, or 0.26 percent, with 16,741 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)