* 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)
* The Commerce Department’s construction spending report is likely to show outlays rebounded 0.5 percent in March after dropping by the same percentage in February. The data is expected at 10:00 a.m. ET.
* Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is scheduled to speak at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Financial Markets conference in Amelia Island, Florida at 8:50 a.m. ET and San Francisco Fed President John Williams will speak at the Milken Institute 2016 Global Conference in Beverly Hills at 5:30 p.m. ET.
* Baker Hughes shares fell 3.7 percent to $46.55 in premarket trading and Halliburton fell 1.5 percent to $40.68 after the companies abandoned their $28 billion merger.
* Apollo Education was up 12.6 percent at $8.78 after a group of investors raised their offer to $1.14 billion to buy the for-profit education provider.
Futures snapshot at 7:07 a.m. ET:
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.19 percent, with 117,704 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 4.75 points, or 0.11 percent, on volume of 19,003 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 29 points, or 0.16 percent, with 15,648 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)