* ECB cuts rates to support flagging euro zone economy
* China, India PMIs show factory sector growth stumbling
* International trade, jobless claims data on tap
* Futures: S&P up 6.6 pts, Dow up 59 pts, Nasdaq up 14 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on
Thursday, adding to earlier gains, after the European Central
Bank cut interest rates for the first time in 10 months to
support a flagging euro zone economy.
"This is an assertive move by the ECB to jump start recovery
in the euro zone," said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund
LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"If someone besides the Fed is pushing for economic growth,
it's positive for the (equities) market."
The ECB lowered its main interest rate by a quarter point to
a new record low of 0.50 percent, in response to a drop in
inflation well below its target level, and amid rising
The cut was widely expected, after ECB President Mario
Draghi said last month the bank stood ready to act. He will hold
a news conference at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) to explain the
S&P 500 futures added 6.6 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 59
points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 14 points.
General Motors reported a stronger-than-expected
quarterly profit as its North American business improved and its
loss in Europe was smaller than Wall Street estimated. The stock
was up 4.3 percent in premarket trading.
In U.S. macroeconomic news, international trade data and
weekly jobless claims data are due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).
U.S. stocks had fallen sharply on Wednesday, with the Dow
ending its four-day winning streak, as the latest economic data
still pointed to anemic growth while bellwether companies
disappointed on revenue.
Wednesday's decline came as the Federal Reserve said it
would keep its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program in place,
but may cut or increase that program depending on the state of
the economy. Data showing weaker-than-expected hiring in the
private sector added momentum to a selloff in equities.
Adding pressure to market sentiment, factory sector growth
in China and India stumbled in April to further underline the
impact of a fragile global economy, under pressure from the euro
zone recession and fresh signals of weakness in the United