NEW YORK -
Stock index futures rose on Thursday, indicating the S&P 500 may rebound from its worst five-day slide in five months, on optimism China's economy may be recovering and ahead of a flurry of economic data and corporate earnings.
* The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said China's factory output should grow faster in the last three months of 2012 than in the third quarter, though the recovery remains clouded by uncertainty in export markets, increasing hopes the world's second largest economy may see a soft landing to its slowdown.
* Investors will look to economic data for investment cues. On tap are September durable goods orders and weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 7.1 percent rise in orders and a total of 370,000 new filings compared with 388,000 in the prior week.
* At 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT), pending home sales for September is due, which investors will peruse for signs of continued improvement in the housing market. Analysts surveyed by Reuters expect a 2.1 percent increase compared with a 2.6 percent drop in the previous month.
* Procter & Gamble Co
* Procter's smaller rival Colgate-Palmolive Co
* Sprint Nextel Corp
* A total of 56 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report earnings on Thursday, including Apple
* The benchmark S&P index <.SPX> has shed 3.6 percent over the last five sessions, its worst performance since mid-May, and is down 3.9 percent from its closing high of September 14, amid weak earnings outlooks and top-line revenue misses by large multinational companies.
* S&P 500 futures rose 6.8 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 60 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 16.5 points.
* Aetna Inc
* European stocks edged higher, led by miners, after China said factory output was set to accelerate, but profit warnings hit WPP and Daimler. <.EU>
* Asian shares inched higher as signs of recovery in China and the United States eased fears of deteriorating global growth, though generally weak corporate earnings continued to make investors wary.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)