* Weak China data raises hopes for stimulus
* Ukraine conflict continues, Russia seizes marine base
* Herbalife rallies, Icahn to get more reps on board
* Futures up: Dow 28 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 9 pts (Updates prices, adds NU Skin)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, March 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to modest gains at the open on Monday as weak data on Chinese manufacturing raised hopes of fresh Chinese stimulus to combat slowing momentum, though tensions over Ukraine weighed on sentiment.
* Recent momentum on Wall Street has been to the upside, with the S&P 500 hitting an intraday record on Friday, though it subsequently ended the day lower. Equities have been lifted by some positive domestic data and a belief that the biggest East-West conflict since the Cold War will not escalate.
* Geopolitical concerns continued Monday after Ukraine announced the evacuation of its troops from Crimea, essentially yielding the region to Russian forces, which earlier seized a Ukrainian marine base there. U.S. President Barack Obama, who has imposed personal sanctions against some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political and business allies, began crisis talks with his European allies.
* While few U.S. companies have excessive exposure to the region, investors are concerned about the potential economic fallout of any escalation in tensions.
* China’s manufacturing engine contracted in the first quarter of 2014, according to the flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index. The report came in below expectations but raised hopes for new stimulative measures.
* Accommodative monetary policies from the U.S. Federal Reserve have fueled market gains for months, though the central bank has gradually been withdrawing stimulus. Last week, concerns mounted after Fed Chair Janet Yellen raised the possibility of an earlier-than-expected increase in interest rates.
* S&P 500 futures rose 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 added 28 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9 points.
* Both the Dow and S&P closed their third positive week of the past four last week, while the Nasdaq has been up for six of the past seven weeks.
* Investors are looking ahead to the final March reading on manufacturing from financial data firm Markit. The report is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET (1345 GMT) and is seen slowing slightly from the previous month.
* Herbalife Ltd said it would allow three more representatives of billionaire investor Carl Icahn, the company’s biggest shareholder, to join its board. Shares of the nutrition and weight-loss company jumped 8 percent to $53.50 in premarket trading.
* NU Skin Enterprises Inc shares soared about 36 percent to $101.94 in premarket trading on massive volume. Earlier, China fined the company more than $500,000 for illegal product sales and misleading local consumers, China’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce said in a statement on its website. NU Skin last week said it expected a fine.
* Cisco Systems Inc said it expects to invest more than $1 billion to expand its cloud computing business over the next two years. Shares rose 0.6 percent to $21.76 before the bell.
* The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple Inc was in talks with Comcast Corp to enter a deal for a streaming-television service that would allow Apple set-top boxes to bypass congestion on the web. The companies declined to comment on the report. Shares of Apple rose 1.1 percent to $538.50 in premarket trading while Comcast was up 1.3 percent at $50.65.
* Nokia Corp said it doesn’t expect to close the sale of its phone business to Microsoft until April as talks with Asian regulators drag on, fuelling speculation it may have to make more concessions to get the deal done. U.S. shares of Nokia rose 1.1 percent to $7.25 in premarket trading. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)