* Fed minutes on tap

* J.C. Penney climbs in premarket after sales results

* Futures up: Dow 132 pts, S&P 16 pts, Nasdaq 25 pts (New throughout)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Jan 7 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were set to rise at the open on Wednesday following data that showed the U.S. private sector created more jobs than expected in December and as deflation concerns in the euro zone were seen pushing the bloc’s central bank into action.

European shares gained 1 percent on bets a bigger-than-expected drop in euro zone inflation would trigger a long-awaited bond-buying scheme by the European Central Bank.

“Speculation that that is finally going to cause the ECB to move forward with some aggressive quantitative easing explained the rally in Europe, and U.S. futures rebounded on that as well,” said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

U.S. private employers added 241,000 jobs last month, more than the 226,000 expected, while the November number was revised to 227,000 from the previously reported 208,000.

The ADP report “certainly gives people some encouragement going into the official jobs number on Friday,” said Jankovskis.

Non-farm payrolls estimates for December are at 240,000 according to a Reuters survey.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 16 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 132 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 25 points.

Minutes from the most recent meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve policy-setting committee are due at 2:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) and traders will scan them for clues on the timing of an interest rate hike. The Fed said it would take a “patient” approach in deciding when to lift borrowing costs.

The S&P 500 fell for a fifth straight session on Tuesday, for its longest losing streak in 13 months, as oil prices tumbled further and data showed slower growth in the U.S. services sector in December.

Brent fell as much as 2.8 percent on Wednesday but was last trading little changed on the day. U.S. crude, down 2.3 percent at its session low, was recently up 1 percent at $ 48.40 per barrel.

J.C. Penney shares surged 21.5 percent to $ 7.97 in premarket trade after the department store operator said same-store sales rose 3.7 percent in November and December.

Micron Technology fell 3 percent to $ 31.88 before the opening bell after the memory chipmaker gave a quarterly revenue forecast on Tuesday that missed Wall Street’s expectations.

(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)