LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 up 0.2 to 0.3 percent.
* The Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended March 9 at 1230 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 350,000 new filings, compared with 340,000 in the prior week.
* The Labor Department also releases the February Producer Price Index at 1230 GMT. Economists forecast a 0.7 percent rise in PPI compared with a 0.2 percent increase in January. Excluding volatile food and energy items, PPI is expected to rise 0.2 percent, a repeat of the January increase.
* Apple Inc marketing chief Phil Schiller attacked Google Inc's "fragmented" Android software and its biggest adopter, Samsung Electronics, ahead of the launch of the Korean firm's latest flagship smartphone in the United States on Thursday.
* Google Inc is to retire Google Reader in July, it said on Thursday, citing declining usage for the application that aggregates content served by web feeds.
* SandRidge Energy Inc and activist hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital struck a deal on Wednesday that could lead to the removal of the oil and gas company's chief executive.
* European shares rose early on Thursday, with the FTSEurofirst 300 hitting a near five-year high, buoyed by gains for insurer Generali and potash and salt miner K+S after results.
* U.S. stocks edged up on Wednesday, with the Dow rising for the ninth straight session to another record, buoyed by surprisingly strong retail sales that suggested the economy is gaining momentum.
* The Dow Jones industrial average gained 5.22 points, or 0.04 percent, to 14,455.28. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index advanced 2.04 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,554.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.80 points, or 0.09 percent, to end at 3,245.12.