* U.S. April employment data to point to sluggish economy
* ISM non-manufacturing data and factory orders on tap
* S&P 500 index near 1,600 mark
* Futures: S&P off 0.9 pt, Dow off 2 pts, Nasdaq up 0.75 pt
NEW YORK, May 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were
little changed on Friday ahead of a closely watched jobs report
which will provide a clearer picture of the state of the economy
after weeks of disappointing data.
* The closely watched monthly nonfarm payrolls report due at
8:30 a. m. EDT (1230 GMT) is expected to show employment growth
likely picked up in April, but probably not by enough to counter
other signs that suggest the economy has lost a step in recent
* Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased by 145,000
jobs, according to a Reuters survey of economists, after braking
to a nine-month low of 88,000 in March. Taken together, the job
creation pace over the past two months would still be far below
the average of 200,000 for the first two months of this year.
* In other macroeconomic news, the Institute for Supply
Management's non-manufacturing sector data will be released
along with the Commerce Department's factory orders report for
March at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
* S&P 500 futures fell 0.9 point and were in line
with 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 lost 2
points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.75 point.
* On Thursday, Wall Street rallied after data showing U.S.
weekly jobless claims dropped to a five-year low. Also helping,
the European Central Bank met expectations with a cut to its
benchmark interest rate.
* The move follows Wednesday's Federal Reserve statement in
which the U.S. central bank said it would continue its bond
buying scheme to keep interest rates low and spur growth, and
would step up purchases if needed.
* LinkedIn Corp shares were likely to come under
pressure after the social network late Thursday reported
disappointing revenue forecasts, suggesting that a revamped
mobile app and other new products designed to keep smartphone
users engaged will not deliver on advertising growth as quickly
as anticipated. The stock was off about 10 percent in premarket
* The S&P ended at a record level on Thursday after hitting
a record high intraday level of 1,598.58. About 74 percent of
stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange closed higher while
73 percent of Nasdaq-listed shares closed up.