(Updates prices, adds byline)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rosefor a sixth day in seven Thursday ahead of weekly dataexpected to show a tick down in applications for unemploymentinsurance.
Data on claims for jobless benefits for the week endedSept. 4 is due at 8:30 a.m. , and economists in aReuters survey forecast a total of 470,000 new filings comparedwith 472,000 in the prior week.
Also due at 8:30 a.m. is U.S. July international tradedata, with economists in a Reuters survey forecasting the tradedeficit to shrink to $47.3 billion from $49.9 billion in June.
"Investors are betting that we are probably not far from aneconomic rebound, and with (Treasury) bonds offering not muchof a yield the risk-reward profile in equities is becomingappealing," said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics atLek Securities in New York.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.2 points and were above fairvalue, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into accountinterest rates, dividends and time to expiration on thecontract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 28points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.75 points.
Volume is expected to be low again as the Jewish New Yearis celebrated and many market participants stay on thesidelines. The six lowest volume days of the year have come inthe last month.
S&P futures are up 5.5 percent in the last seven sessions,the best such performance since mid-July.
The moving average convergence divergence chart of S&P 500futures turned increasingly bullish after the MACD line movedabove the zero line, confirming last week's call on a shift inmomentum.
Oil rose 0.4 percent to about $75 a barrel, drawing somestrength from an initial report of falling U.S. inventories.Industry data late Wednesday surprised the market withindications of a decline in U.S. fuel stockpiles, which havehit record levels, but government statistics for release Thursday could contradict those figures.
Convenience store operator 7-Eleven is the mystery thirdparty that offered to buy Casey's General Stores Incfor $40 a share, or $2.03 billion, a source familiar with thesituation said Wednesday. The bid exceeds the $38.50 a shareoffered by Canada's largest convenience store chain,Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc, which has beenembroiled in a hostile takeover bid for the smaller rival sinceApril.
Goldman Sachs Group has been fined 17.5 millionpounds ($27 million) by a UK financial regulator for failing todisclose it was under fraud investigation by its U.S.counterpart.
European stocks edged higher with miners and banks up as aEuropean Central Bank member expressed optimism on the eurozone economy, though gains were capped by weaker retailersafter gloomy updates.
U.S. stocks rose Wednesday as investors latched ontopositive news out of Europe. (Editing by Padraic Cassidy)