NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday after upbeat data from Europe and China more than offset lingering uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases stimulus program.
* The Dow industrials fell Wednesday for a sixth straight day and the S&P 500 closed below its 50-day moving average for a fourth session after minutes from the Fed’s July meeting gave few clues on when and by how much the U.S. central bank will start reducing its $85 billion a month in bond purchases.
* Bulls were encouraged, however, after business surveys showed better-than-expected growth in the euro zone and a rebound in China’s vast manufacturing sector, evidence that the world economy is on the mend. The U.S. flash Markit Manufacturing PMI for August is due at 8:58 a.m.
* Other data on Thursday’s schedule includes first-time claims for jobless benefits for the latest week at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), the Federal Housing finance Agency’s Home Price Index for June at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT) and July leading economic indicators at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).
* S&P 500 futures rose 7 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 42 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 18 points.
* Shares of Hewlett-Packard dropped 7 percent in premarket trading a day after the company reported a decline in Enterprise Group revenue, the company’s second-largest division and a critical component of CEO Meg Whitman’s plan to transform the company.
* Abercrombie & Fitch shares tumbled nearly 18 percent premarket after the apparel retailer said quarterly comparable sales fell a worse-than-expected 10 percent.
* Sears Holdings, which operates its eponymous department stores and the Kmart discount chain, reported a much bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and its shares fell 4 percent in premarket trading.