* Initial jobless claims, factory orders data due
* AbbVie to buy Pharmacyclics for about $ 21 bln
* Costco climbs in premarket after results
* Futures up: Dow 30 pts, S&P 3.5 pts, Nasdaq 7.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) – S&P Futures edged up on Thursday, after two days of declines on the S&P 500, ahead of data on the labor market and factory orders.
* The benchmark S&P index has slowed after a 5-percent surge in February and a record on March 2 with its worst two-day performance since late January. The index has been down during four of the past six sessions as investors attempt to gauge the timing of an interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
* Weekly initial jobless claims data is due at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT). Expectations call for claims to dip to 295,000 from the 313,000 in the prior week. Investors will eye the data for signs of strength in the labor market ahead of Friday’s monthly payrolls report.
* January factory orders data is scheduled for later in the session at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT). Expectations call for orders to rise 0.2 percent versus a 3.4 percent decline in December.
* AbbVie is to buy Pharmacyclics for about $ 21 billion, giving it access to what is expected to be one of the world’s top-selling cancer drugs and expanding its reach in the profitable oncology field. Pharmacyclics shares jumped 8.7 percent to $ 250.51 in premarket trade while AbbVie lost 5 percent to $ 57.25.
* Costco Wholesale rose 1.8 percent to $ 149.88 before the opening bell after it reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit. Retailers will be watched as they post monthly sales results for signs lower gas prices will result in spending elsewhere in the economy.
* The European Central Bank is expected to reveal some but not all the details of its 1 trillion euro-plus bond buying plan when it meets on Thursday and is also expected to keep interest rates on hold.
* European shares rose, with a batch of robust company results from firms including supermarket Carrefour and fund manager Schroders boosting sentiment ahead of the ECB meeting.
* In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ticked higher, boosted by optimism on the economy and the Bank of Japan’s buying earlier this week while China’s main stock indexes fell nearly 1 percent as investors dumped blue-chip shares on worries about the slowing economy.
Futures snapshot at 7:30 a.m. (1230 GMT):
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.5 points, or 0.17 percent, with 78,387 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.75 points, or 0.17 percent, in volume of 11,053 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 30 points, or 0.17 percent, with 11,484 contracts changing hands.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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