US STOCKS-Futures edge up ahead of manufacturing data
* Futures up: Dow 29 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 4.75 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were marginally higher on the first trading day of the month on Monday as investors await manufacturing data to further assess the health of the world's largest economy.
* Oil prices were down about 0.6 percent, retreating from the year's high, as higher production in the Middle East more than offset declines in the United States.
* Data released on Sunday showed China's manufacturing sector expanded marginally in April, missing estimates and raising doubts about the sustainability of a recent economic improvement in the country.
* Investors have been keeping a sharp eye on data after the U.S. Federal Reserve held monetary policy steady last week, and gave no signals that it was in a hurry to tighten further.
* Economists polled by Reuters expect two increases this year but futures prices show traders do not expect rates to rise until late 2016, according to CME Group's FedWatch.
* Wall Street closed down lower on Friday, with U.S. stocks marking their largest weekly drop in more than two months as corporate earnings continued to disappoint.
* The ISM manufacturing purchasing managers' index is expected to have slipped to 51.4 percent in April from 51.8 percent in March. The data is expected at 09:45 a.m. ET (1345 GMT) Continuación...