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US STOCKS-Wall St to rise as new quarter begins, data eyed

* Euro zone slipping into recession, China still slowing

* Futures up: Dow 74 pts, S&P 6.8 pts, Nasdaq 16.5 pts

(Updates prices, adds data)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to start the last quarter on a higher note on Monday even as data continued to point to a slowdown in global manufacturing.

U.S. manufacturing ended its worst quarter in three years in September as foreign demand for U.S. goods fell sharply, an industry survey by Markit showed. The figure came ahead of the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for last month, forecast to show a slight decline in the pace of the sector's contraction. The report is expected at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).

In addition, construction spending for August is due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).

The rise in futures points to a rebound from the S&P 500 index's biggest weekly drop since June.

The weak U.S. data followed survey results in the euro zone that showed manufacturing slackened in the three months to September while Asia's manufacturers are continuing to struggle in the face of tepid demand from the United States and Europe. The data flagged a return to recession for the euro zone and a seventh straight quarter of slowing growth in China.

Still, equity markets are being supported by expectations of support from central banks including the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, which are offsetting weak data, according to Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

"The market focuses more on future results than on what's happening today," he said.

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 74 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 16.5 points. Ceradyne Inc shares gained 43 percent to $34.94 in premarket trading on news the company will be acquired by 3M Co for $847 million.

The U.S. Defense Department on Friday awarded United Launch Alliance, which is a 50-50 joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp

and Boeing Co

, a $1.17 billion contract to provide satellite launches using its Delta IV and Atlas V rockets.

Wall Street finished lower on Friday but recorded its best third quarter since 2010 after a series of central bank actions sparked a bullish reversal in equity markets, but signs of weakness in the economy drove stocks lower for the week.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

((rodrigo.campos@thomsonreuters.com)(+1.646.223.6344)(Reuters

Messaging: rodrigo.campos.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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