* Futures up: Dow 37 pts, S&P 3.25 pts, Nasdaq 13.25 pts
By Mamidipudi Soumithri and Yashaswini Swamynathan
Sept 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday ahead of a raft of economic data, including a crucial jobs report on Friday.
* The stress on data has become especially apparent after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said last week that solid performance in the labor market has strengthened the case for an interest rate hike.
* Investors will assess Friday’s monthly nonfarm payrolls numbers to see whether robust hiring from June continued through August. A Reuters survey of economists shows that about 180,000 jobs were likely added in the month.
* The biggest question on investors’ minds is the timing of the next rate hike, after a host of Fed officials, including Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, hinted at a move as early as this month.
* The Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s policy-setting body, is scheduled to meet on Sept. 20-21.
* Traders, however, have priced in a mere 24 percent chance of a hike this month. The odds rise to 53.6 percent for December, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
* Analysts have said the central bank is most likely to hold off raising rates in September, given inflation rates that run below its 2 percent target and the upcoming U.S. presidential elections in November.
* The Institute of Supply Management’s national factory activity index is expected to have edged lower to 52.0 this month from 52.6 in July. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT) on Thursday.
* Data at 8:30 a.m. ET is likely to show that 265,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, continuing a trend for claims falling below the 300,000 mark for the 78th straight week.
* Oil prices recovered some ground on Thursday, after Saudi Arabia said OPEC was moving towards a common position on oil production that some investors think could support prices.
* Wall Street closed lower on Thursday, with the S&P turning slightly negative for August, as weak oil prices weighed on energy stocks.
* Charter Communications rose 4.6 percent to $269 after the S&P Dow Jones Indices said the cable services company is set to join the S&P 500 index.
* Wynn Resorts rose 3.6 percent to $92.50 after Macau, the world’s biggest casino hub, posted a 1.1 percent rise in gambling revenue in August.
* Salesforce.com dropped 7.2 percent after the cloud software maker reported a disappointing current quarter revenue.
Futures snapshot at 7:13 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were up 37 points, or 0.2 percent, with 21,384 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.25 points, or 0.15 percent, with 139,653 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 13.25 points, or 0.28 percent, on volume of 22,894 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)