US STOCKS-Futures point to third day of gains ahead of data
* Initial claims, personal income data on tap
* Fed Presidents Lockhart, Dudley to speak
* Futures up: Dow 23 pts, S&P 3.5 pts, Nasdaq 5.25 pts
NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, indicating the S&P 500 may climb for a third consecutive day, ahead of data on the labor market and consumer spending.
* Data expected at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) includes weekly initial jobless claims, and personal income and spending for May. Economists surveyed by Reuters forecast a total of 345,000 new jobless filings compared with 354,000 in the prior week. Personal income is expected to rise 0.2 percent and spending is expected to show a 0.3 percent gain.
* After falling as much as 4.8 percent since the last statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve on June 19, the S&P 500 has risen 1.9 percent over the past two sessions as economic data and comments from Fed officials quelled fears the Fed will pare its stimulus program sooner than expected.
* Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley is scheduled to give remarks on the national and regional economy before a briefing on labor market conditions for recent college graduates at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT) while Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is due to speak on the economic outlook at 12:30 p.m. (1630 GMT).
* S&P 500 futures rose 3.5 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 23 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5.25 points.
* Later in the session at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT), the National Association of Realtors issues Pending Home Sales for May. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 1.0 percent rise compared with a 0.3 percent increase in April.
* U.S.-listed shares of Barrick Gold advanced 1.8 percent to $15.05 in premarket trading, as gold prices edged higher following a 12-percent drop over the past eight sessions.
* European shares held steady following two days of sharp gains, as a sell-off in chemicals stocks offset strength in defensive stocks.
* Asian shares extended gains for a second day, buoyed by hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve will not rush to end its stimulus program, and by further signs that stresses in China's banking system are easing.