U.S. stock index futures slipped on Friday as cautious investors awaited a key monthly employment report after other data this week suggested the nascent economic recovery may be losing momentum.

* The Dow and S&P 500 suffered their worst one-day fall in three months on Thursday after manufacturing and jobless reports fueled fears about the recovery's strength. A broad sell-off left major indexes down as much as 3 percent.

* The U.S. Labor Department is to release its September employment report at 8:30 a.m. EDT <1230 GMT>. Economists forecast that 180,000 jobs were lost in September compared with a loss of 216,000 jobs in August, according to a Reuters survey. The unemployment rate is seen at 9.8 percent versus 9.7 percent in the prior month.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc , the world's biggest retailer, sees a slow recovery from challenging U.S. business conditions, while its Asia operations are a little better, Chairman Rob Walton said Friday.

* The Commerce Department releases August factory orders at 10:00 a.m. EDT <1400 GMT> Economists in a Reuters poll see orders rising 0.3 percent versus a 1.3 percent increase the prior month.

* Global stock markets fell ahead of the U.S. jobs data. European shares hit a four-week low and Japan's Nikkei average slid 2.5 percent to a two-month closing low.

* Energy shares were likely to be pressured as U.S. crude oil futures dropped 1.5 percent.

* S&P 500 futures were off 3.4 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 lost 33 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 6.50 points.

* Stocks in the spotlight included General Electric Co after Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said the company is holding discussions on partnerships or an initial public offering for its NBC Universal unit.

* CIT Group Inc , which lends to small and mid-sized companies, launched a debt-exchange plan on Thursday that it hopes will prevent a bankruptcy filing.

* Automakers were also in focus a day after they reported a 23 percent fall in September U.S. auto sales as showrooms emptied after the government-funded cash for clunkers program.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)