US STOCKS-Futures indicate positive start to third quarter
* S&P 500 coming off strong first half of 2013
* Fed policy likely to continue as a major market driver
* Onyx Pharma shares soar in premarket, company considering sale of itself
* Futures up: Dow 82 pts, S&P 6.5 pts, Nasdaq 17 pts
NEW YORK, July 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday, indicating that equities would start the second half of the year by building on the strongest first half of any year since 1998.
* Gains this year have largely been fueled by the Federal Reserve bond-buying stimulus program, which helped take major indexes to a series of record highs before pulling back on uncertainty over when the policy will end.
* While the transition to a no-stimulus environment is expected to result in further volatility down the road, Wall Street showed some signs of stabilization last week as comments from Fed officials assured traders that the program would not be slowed imminently.
* Easing concerns over Fed policy contributed to the gain in futures on Friday, as did a 0.8 percent rally in Chinese shares , which rose after Beijing policymakers assured investors that there was ample liquidity in the system.
* 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 added 82 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 17 points.
* Last week, the S&P 500 rose and ended a two-week streak of losses. However, it closed down for the month of June, breaking a seven-month rally.
* May construction spending data in on tap for release at 10 a.m. and is seen rising 0.6 percent. The June Institute for Supply Management survey on manufacturing is also scheduled for release at 10, and the main index is seen coming in at 50.5, slightly higher than the 49.0 posted in the previous month.
* In corporate news, Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc jumped 51 percent to $131 in premarket trading after the company said it was considering selling itself, though it had rejected a roughly $10 billion bid from Amgen Inc. Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the stock to $140 from $105.
* U.S.-listed shares of Barrick Gold fell 1.8 percent to $15.46 before the bell after BMO downgraded the stock to "underperform" from "market perform."
* A number of analysts issued bearish comments on Research in Motion after the BlackBerry maker last week reported an unexpected quarterly operating loss. Societe Generale downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy" while at least three firms cut their price targets. U.S.-listed shares fell 4.1 percent to $10.03 in premarket trading.
* On Friday, the Dow and S&P 500 fell in a volatile session, ending three straight days of gains. The Nasdaq ended slightly higher.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)