US STOCKS-Futures slip ahead of March payrolls data
* Futures down: Dow 55 pts, S&P 7.25 pts, Nasdaq 20.5 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
April 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures started the second quarter on a gloomy note on Friday, ahead of a crucial non-farm payrolls report that will give investors a clearer reading on the economy.
* The Labor Department's report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT), is expected to show that employers added 205,000 jobs in March, less than the 242,000 added in February. Unemployment is expected to remain at an eight-year low of 4.9 percent.
* Investors will parse the data to see if a recovery in the U.S. labor market and the economy can be sustained amid a global turmoil that has roiled financial markets.
* A separate report at 10 a.m. on Friday is expected to show the Institute for Supply Management's national manufacturing index rose to 50.7 in March from 49.5 the previous month.
* Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this week urged caution on raising interest rates, given the global risks to the U.S. economy and low oil prices.
* Weak Japanese manufacturing data on Friday pushed global stocks lower and propped up prices of safe-haven assets.
* Wall Street ended the first quarter with a whimper on Thursday after a seven-week rally that rescued the S&P 500 from its worst start to a year since 2009. Continuación...