* China manufacturing struggles in March but shows expansion
* ISM, Markit manufacturing on tap
* Medicines Co tumbles after court ruling
* Futures up: Dow 39 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 8.75 pts (Adds GM, updates prices)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised for a modestly higher open on Tuesday, putting S&P 500 on track for a third straight advance, after the benchmark index closed out its fifth straight quarter of gains and ahead of data on manufacturing.
* The S&P 500 rose 1.3 percent for the quarter, matching its longest quarterly winning streak since 2007, buoyed by gains Monday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen soothed concerns about an earlier-than-expected rate hike.
* Investors will look to data on the manufacturing sector for an indication of the economy’s health after lackluster data earlier in the year was attributed to a harsh winter. The final Markit manufacturing PMI for March is due at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT) and the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing reading for March is due at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT).
* ISM is expected to show a reading of 54 versus the prior 53.2. The prior Markit reading came in at 55.5.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 4.5 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 39 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 8.75 points.
* The U.S. Congress will try to establish who is to blame for at least 13 auto-related deaths over the past decade, as public hearings begin Tuesday into General Motors Co’s slow response to defective ignition switches in cars. GM shares slipped 0.3 percent to $34.31 in premarket trading.
* Construction spending data for February is also due at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT). Expectations call for a flat reading versus a prior gain of 0.1 percent.
* Two surveys showed manufacturing in China struggled in March, although the official purchasing managers index managed to show expansion, with activity at smaller, private firms contracting for a third month. The surveys added to a run of disappointing Chinese data that has sparked speculation of imminent government-led stimulus.
* Medicines Co tumbled 13.8 percent to $24.50 in premarket trading. The company said a federal judge in Delaware upheld two patents related to Hospira Inc’s generic version of Medicines Co’s angiomax product. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)