US STOCKS-Wall St to open higher on data, central bank support
* China and euro zone manufacturing show improvement
* Initial jobless claims fall more than expected
* Procter & Gamble gains after results, outlook
* Futures up: Dow 110 pts, S&P 11.5 pts, Nasdaq 20.75 pts
NEW YORK, Aug 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised for a higher open on Thursday, after economic data pointed to a modestly improving global economy and kept afloat expectations for continued support from global central banks.
China's official PMI for manufacturing rose to 50.3 in July, defying expectations it would fall and suggesting a pick up in activity as growth in new orders increased.
Adding to the optimism, Markit's Eurozone Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.3 in July from June's 48.8, topping the 50 threshold for growth for the first time since July 2011.
But a rival HSBC report on China's manufacturing was more gloomy, falling to 47.7 in July, the weakest reading since August 2012, which tempered growth expectations.
The Bank of England made no changes at its second policy meeting Thursday under its new governor, Mark Carney, keeping interest rates at 0.5 percent and opted not to revive its bond-buying program.
The European Central Bank also left interest rates at a record low 0.5 percent and President Mario Draghi reiterated the ECB's rates will remain at their present level or lower for an "extended period" of time.
In its latest policy statement on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve gave no hint that a reduction in the pace of its bond-buying program was imminent, as the economy continues to recover but is still in need of support.
"Bottom line, it's still free money everywhere - whether it is in the U.S., the Bank of England, the ECB - they are all saying the same thing and everyone is kind of loving it," said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.
"Initial jobless claims were a little bit better than expected, which kind of gives you that Goldilocks effect. The Fed is not going anywhere and this is wonderful for everybody."
S&P 500 futures rose 11.5 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 110 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 20.75 points.
Weekly initial jobless claims data showed a drop of 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the lowest level since January 2008 and better than the 345,000 forecast, suggesting a steadily improving labor market.
Financial data firm Markit said its final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for July rose to 53.7, the highest since March, beating both a preliminary July estimate of 53.2 and June's 51.9 reading.
At 10 a.m. (1400 GMT), the Institute for Supply Management releases its July manufacturing index and the Commerce Department releases June construction spending data.
The benchmark S&P index has traded within 10 points of the 1,700 level for 10 straight sessions, representing a technical resistance level which could lead to more gains if convincingly pierced.
Procter & Gamble Co rose 1.8 percent to $81.81 in premarket after the world's largest household products maker posted a quarterly profit that fell less than expected and said full-year's earnings should rise at least as much as last year.
Yelp Inc jumped 13.6 percent to $47.50 in premarket trade after the consumer reviews website posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss and forecast third-quarter revenue above analysts' expectations.
But Exxon Mobil Corp dipped 1.4 percent to $92.40 after a lower-than-expected decline in second-quarter profit.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday morning, Of the 331 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date for the second quarter, 67.7 percent have reported earnings above analyst expectations.
As earnings season begins to enter its latter stages, 40 companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report earnings on Thursday, including Kraft Foods Group Inc after the close.
J.C. Penney Co climbed 6.9 percent to $15.61 before the opening bell after the department-store operator said a media report about commercial lender CIT Group stopping funding to its suppliers are untrue, as it has been told so directly by the lender.