* Consumer spending increases more than expected in Aug
* Alcoa jumps after company says to split up
* Futures down: Dow 71 pts, S&P 8.25 pts, Nasdaq 18.50 pts (Adds quotes, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Sept 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Monday after data showed a better-than-expected increase in consumer spending in August, adding to the case for an interest rate increase this year.
The consumer spending data followed stronger-than-expected second-quarter GDP data last week.
This week will culminate with September non-farm payrolls data on Friday. Continued improvement in U.S. employment conditions could help convince the Fed to raise rates for the first time since 2006.
Several Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to speak during the week, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen and New York Fed President William Dudley, both on Wednesday.
Yellen has said she expects rates to be raised this year.
“What we have here is a jittery market, and with two days left to the quarter I don’t see much of a change in direction,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
“I think the markets will continue to hold the low end of the trading range.”
The Commerce Department said on Monday consumer spending increased 0.4 percent after an upwardly revised 0.4 percent rise in July.
“Investors are going to be looking at everything. They’re going to be looking at every economic number to try and figure out what the Fed is going to do,” Rick Fier, director of trading at Conifer Securities in New York said.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed lower on Friday, wiping out gains from a rally driven by Yellen’s comments about a rate hike, as a selloff in biotechs offset gains in banking shares.
The Dow, however, ended higher as Nike hit a record-high after its first-quarter profit beat expectations.
At 9:05 a.m. ET (1305 GMT), S&P 500 e-minis were down 8.25 points, or 0.43 percent, with 318,670 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 18.5 points, or 0.44 percent, on volume of 56,911 contracts. Dow e-minis were down 71 points, or 0.44 percent, with 45,201 contracts changing hands.
Alcoa’s shares were up 5.8 percent premarket at $9.60 after the aluminum producer said it would split into two publicly traded companies.
Apple said it sold more than 13 million iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in the first weekend on the market. The company’s shares were little changed premarket.
Media General soared 20.3 percent to $13.35 after Nexstar offered to buy the company in a deal valued at $4.1 billion. Nexstar was up 3.3 percent at $45.99.
Sprint jumped 8 percent to $4.64 after the carrier said it would not join the U.S. government’s auction of airwaves set for early 2016. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar and Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)