* Futures up: Dow 21 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts
By Sweta Singh
July 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose slightly on Thursday ahead of a critical job report that could feed into the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on when to increase interest rates.
* Non-farm payrolls are expected to have increased by 230,000 in June, with the unemployment rate declining to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent.
* The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits is expected to have dropped a bit to a seasonally adjusted 270,000.
* The market was buoyed by stronger-than-expected private payrolls and construction spending data on Wednesday.
* The Labor Department’s closely watched report, normally issued on a Friday, will be released on Thursday at 8:30 a.m ET (1230 GMT) because of the Independence Day holiday.
* Should the monthly job data meet expectations, it will be the latest indication that the economy has rebounded from a first-quarter slump and could support a September interest rate increase by the Fed.
* European stock markets were in a limbo and the mood was one of caution with Greece just days away from a referendum that may decide its future in Europe and traders awaiting U.S. data.
* The Greek government aims to secure a deal with creditors on Monday, a day after the referendum in which Greeks will vote on whether to accept or reject a bailout offer made by lenders last week.
* HealthNet shares rose 5.4 percent to $68.54 in premarket trading after Centene Corp said would buy the healthcare management company for an enterprise value of $6.8 billion. Centene shares rose 1.4 percent. [ID: L3N0ZI3OW]
* Insurer MBIA Inc shares rose 4.6 percent to $6.15 after Puerto Rico’s PREPA avoided default by making a $415 million payment to creditors.
* Xoom Corp shares rose 21.4 percent after PayPal, the electronic payments division of eBay, said it would buy the digital money transfer provider for about $890 million.
Futures snapshot at 7:30 a.m. EDT:
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.11 percent, with 107,917 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 6 points, or 0.14 percent, on volume of 17,372 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 21 points, or 0.12 percent, with 12,705 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)