* Weekly jobless claims rise, but labor market remains strong
* ISM non-manufacturing data expected at 10 a.m. ET
* February monthly labor data expected on Friday
* Herbalife falls after database snafu botches growth numbers
* Indexes down: Dow 0.31 pct, S&P 0.37 pct, Nasdaq 0.33 pct (Updates to open)
By Tanya Agrawal
March 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street opened lower on Thursday as oil prices eased and investors awaited a raft of economic data to further assess the health of the economy.
Both Brent and U.S. crude fell about 1.2 percent as a surge in U.S. inventories and a lack of new measures from the world’s largest producers to curb supply dampened sentiment.
While concerns linger over the state of the global economy, upbeat data from major economies this week and signs of a rebound in commodity prices have helped ease some of those worries.
Jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week, but the underlying trend continued to point to a strengthening labor market.
The data comes ahead of the comprehensive labor report for February on Friday and is expected to show an addition of 190,000 jobs, after rising 151,000 in January. The unemployment rate is seen steady at an eight-year low of 4.9 percent.
The ISM non-manufacturing PMI index, expected at 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT), is likely to show a slight drop to 53.2 in February from 53.5 in January, suggesting that the services sector slowed slightly, although it continues to expand.
“I think we’re looking at a mixed to positive session today,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
“Investors are in a holding pattern before we get some clarity ahead of the monthly employment numbers and the Fed meeting later this month.”
At 9:47 a.m. ET (1447 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 53.21 points, or 0.31 percent, at 16,846.11, the S&P 500 was down 7.28 points, or 0.37 percent, at 1,979.17 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 15.37 points, or 0.33 percent, at 4,688.05.
Eight of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the health index’s 0.55 percent fall leading the decliners.
Solid economic data could bolster expectations that the Federal Reserve remains on track to raise interest rates this year. Fed funds futures suggested traders are pricing in a 61 percent chance of a rate hike by year-end. The central bank meets next on March 15-16.
The calmer mood in world markets showed in the CBOE Volatility index - a measure of investor anxiety - which closed at its lowest level so far this year on Wednesday.
As of Wednesday’s close, the S&P 500 index is down only 2.8 percent, recouping from a fall of over 10 percent earlier this year.
Shares of Herbalife were down 7.2 percent at $52.31 after the company said it had overstated growth in the number of new members in some instances due to a database error.
Kroger was down 6 percent at $38.01 after the largest U.S. supermarket operator’s quarterly sales missed estimates.
Intel was up 1.3 percent at $30.95 after Robert W. Baird upgraded the stock to “outperform”.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,463 to 1,203. On the Nasdaq, 1,184 issues rose and 1,041 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 6 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 18 new highs and 5 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)