Stock index futures were flat on Wednesday ahead of private labor market data, even as BP Plc shares rose after it reported a giant oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP rose 4.2 percent to $52.58 in premarket New York trading after the company said it had made a giant oil discovery in an area that has assumed increasing importance for Western oil majors.

The rise also limited losses on the FTSE 100 index <.FTSE>.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas will report on private-sector layoff plans at 7:30 a.m. EDT. Also, the ADP jobs report is due at 8:15 a.m. EDT, with economists polled by Reuters looking for a loss of 250,000 jobs in August versus 371,000 in July.

We will be looking at the Challenger cuts and ADP number which tends to be a precursor to the change in the non-farm payroll number at the end of the week, said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in New York.

British Petroleum has made a discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, and they actually define that as being great, so I think that is going to catch some headlines as we work our way through the day.

S&P 500 futures fell 0.5 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 were up 1 point, and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 2.75 points.

Stocks fell in Europe, but China's key stock index <.SSEC> closed 1.2 percent higher, led by the banking sector. In Europe the FTSE Eurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> fell 0.7 percent.

The Labor Department will release revised Q2 productivity and unit labor costs at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists forecast a rise of 6.4 percent in productivity and a 5.8 percent fall in unit labor costs, matching data in the previous report.

The Commerce Department will release July factory orders at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Economists expect an increase of 2.2 percent, compared with a 0.4 percent rise in June.

At 2:00 p.m. EDT, the Federal Open Market Committee issues minutes from its meeting of August 11-12.

U.S. indexes fell 2 percent on Tuesday on uncertainty over the health of banks. Some investors also fear that a market rally of 50 percent since March has run ahead of economic realities. September is traditionally a weak month for stocks.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)