LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - * U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 rising 0.2 to 0.5 percent.
* First-time claims data for jobless benefits for the week ended Sept. 29 will be released at 1230 GMT. Economists forecast a total of 370,000 new filings, compared with 359,000 in the prior week.
* The Federal Reserve releases at 1800 GMT minutes from the Sept. 12-13 meeting of its policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee.
* Costco Wholesale Corp said its September sales rose 8 percent to $9.31 billion.
* The Commerce Department releases August factory orders at 1400 GMT. Economists expect a fall of 5.8 percent, compared with a 2.8 percent rise in the prior month.
* ICSC releases chain store sales for September. In August, sales rose 2.6 percent from a year earlier.
* European shares rose 0.2 percent on Thursday but continued to trade in a tight range, with banks the best-performing sector ahead of the latest European Central Bank rate setting meeting.
* The European Central Bank is expected to hold interest rates to allow time for new details on the health of the euro zone economy and for Spain to ask for aid.
* Wall Street ended modestly higher on Wednesday on stronger-than-expected U.S. labor and service-sector data, but the Dow industrials were hobbled by a slide in Hewlett-Packard.
* The Dow Jones industrial average gained 12.25 points, or 0.09 percent, to 13,494.61 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 5.24 points, or 0.36 percent, to 1,450.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 15.19 points, or 0.49 percent, to close at 3,135.23. (Reporting by Atul Prakash/editing by Chris Pizzey, London MPG Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441)