U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday as investors awaited a raft of data, including manufacturing and jobless, that could provide clues on the strength of an economic recovery.

* The data due out will also include pending home sales, personal income and consumption, and may offer fresh evidence on the strength of the U.S. recovery, ahead of Friday's non-farm payrolls.

* Economists expected the Institute of Supply Management manufacturing reading at 54.0 for September versus 52.9 in August, according to a Reuters survey. Pending home sales are seen rising 1 percent in August compared with a 3.2 percent increase in the previous month. The numbers are due at 10:00 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).

* A total of 530,000 new filings for jobless claims, the same as the previous week, is forecast by economists. The data is set for release at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT).

* Stocks in the spotlight include Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) which fell 1.1 percent in premarket trade after it offered by buy Norwegian video conferencing company Tandberg for $3 billion in cash. For details, see 

* Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) shares rose 0.5 percent premarket after Chief Executive Ken Lewis said he was retiring after months of being dogged by a series of government investigations into the company's acquisition of Merrill Lynch. The company does not have a successor at this time.

* S&P 500 futures SPc1 fell 5.6 points and were below 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 DJc1 lost 46 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 were down 10 points.

* Penske Automotive Group Inc (PAG.N) shares tumbled after the bell Wednesday after it said it ended talks with General Motors Co [GM.UL] to buy the Saturn brand. No trades were done in early premarket trade. 

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

* U.S. stocks ended lower on Wednesday, pressured by weak economic data. Still, the Dow ended the quarter up 15 percent, marking its best performance since the fourth quarter of 1998.

The S&P 500 notched its second straight quarterly advance of 15 percent. The Nasdaq gained 15.7 percent for the third quarter.