US STOCKS-Futures point to modestly lower open after data

* Investors look to payrolls data due on Good Friday

* Crude oil dips, could pressure energy stocks

* Micron up in premarket after revenue outlook

* Futures down: Dow 30 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 10.75 pts (Updates with jobless claims data)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) – Dow Futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Thursday, with indexes off their lows of the premarket session, as a read on the labor market came in better than expected, a positive sign for the upcoming payrolls report.

Jobless claims unexpectedly fell in the latest week, suggesting the labor market continues to expand at a solid clip even as economic growth has stalled.

The report comes after a pair of weak data points on Wednesday, when reads on both private sector employment and manufacturing came in below expectations.

Investors are already looking ahead to the key March payroll report, which will be released Friday. Trading could be volatile ahead of that as market participants position themselves for the data, which will be released during the Good Friday holiday when the stock market will be closed, meaning no one can trade off it until Monday.

A weak payroll report wouldn’t necessarily be a downside catalyst for Wall Street. The Federal Reserve has said it won’t raise interest rates until it deems the economy strong enough to withstand such a move, which will raise borrowing costs and possibly crimp spending. A below-consensus jobs number on Friday could ease concerns of a nearer-term rate rise.

The release of the jobs report has only coincided with Good Friday four times since 1999, according to data from Bespoke, most recently in 2012. Analysts expect 245,000 jobs to have been added in the month, down from 295,000 in February.

Energy shares could be pressured Thursday, with crude oil down 2.8 percent at $ 48.71 per barrel. The decline came as nuclear talks between officials from the big global powers and Iran continued. If the talks are successful, that could allow Iran to release more crude oil onto world markets at a time when concerns about oversupply have already contributed to the commodity being down more than 50 percent since June.

Micron Technology Inc late Wednesday forecast lower revenue for the current quarter. Still, shares rose 1.3 percent to $ 27.48 in premarket trading.

Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc rose 2.4 percent to $ 33.80 in heavy premarket trading on stronger-than-expected quarterly revenue, though March sales were pressured after CBS’s “60 Minutes” alleged the company’s laminate flooring products contained excessive levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde.

Futures snapshot at 8:40 a.m. EDT (1240 GMT):

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 5 points, or 0.24 percent, with 122,918 contracts changing hands.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 10.75 points, or 0.25 percent, in volume of 17,544 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were down 30 points, or 0.17 percent, with 20,412 contracts changing hands.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Dow Futures

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