* 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
* 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
* 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
* 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
* 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
* 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)