Stock index futures signal dip; data eyed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.05 percent, Dow Jones futures down 0.04 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.07 percent at 4:10 a.m. EDT.

Oil held steady after an unexpected drop in crude inventories in the United States helped prices rebound, while wildfires in Alberta threatened to cut more supply from Canada.

European shares were up 0.3 percent in morning trade, led by commodity stocks after the initial public offering of Glencore <GLEN.L> helped boost sentiment in the sector.

On the economic front, investors awaited U.S. weekly jobless claims for more insight on the battered jobs market. A Reuters survey found a forecast for a total of 420,000 new filings, compared with 434,000 in the prior week.

Investors were also bracing for the National Association of Realtors' existing home sales for April and the Conference Board's leading economic indicators.

On the earning side, a few companies including Gap <GPS.N> and Sears <SHLD.O> were due to report results.

Big Lots <BIG.N> has decided against selling itself after bids from private equity firms did not meet the discount retailer's expectations, the Wall Street Journal reported.

PetSmart <PETM.O> posted better-than-expected first-quarter results as more customers visited its stores, and forecast a second quarter largely in-line with estimates, sending its shares up 6 percent after the bell.

Citigroup raised its 2011 year-end target for the MSCI All-Country World Index to 380 from 360, and its global earnings growth forecast for the year on the back of strong reporting seasons in the United States and Europe.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 80.60 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,560.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 11.70 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,340.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 31.79 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,815.00.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Dan Lalor)