US STOCKS-Futures inch higher ahead of manufacturing data
* Compuware climbs in premarket; near deal to sell itself
* Exelixis tumbles after cancer drug fails study; to cut jobs
* Dollar General ups Family Dollar bid
* EU to decide on new Russia sanctions by Friday
* Futures up: Dow 18 pts, S&P 1.75 pts, Nasdaq 7 pts
NEW YORK, Sept 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures advanced on Tuesday, after the S&P 500 closed out its best month since February, ahead of reports on the manufacturing sector.
* Investors will eye the final August reading on the manufacturing sector from financial data firm Markit at 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT).
* At 10 a.m. (1400 GMT), the Institute for Supply Management's August reading on manufacturing will be released. Expectations call for manufacturing to dip slightly to 56.8 from the 57.1 in July. Also due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) is construction spending data for July.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 1.75 points and fair value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated a slightly higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 18 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 7 points.
* The benchmark S&P index gained 3.8 percent in August, its best month since a 4.3 percent climb in February. However, the monthly average volume of 5.24 billion was the lowest of the year, according to data from BATS Global Markets.
* Exelixis shares plunged 51.2 percent to $2.02 before the opening bell after the company said on Monday it would cut about 70 percent of its workforce after its experimental prostate cancer drug cabozantinib failed a late-stage study.
* Dollar General Corp raised its bid for Family Dollar Stores Inc by 2 percent to $80 per share, or $9.1 billion, and warned it may turn hostile and appeal directly to shareholders if the new offer was rejected. Family Dollar shares gained 0.8 percent to $80.45 in premarket.
* Compuware jumped 14.4 percent to $10.70 in premarket after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is near a deal to sell itself.
* Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini told the European Parliament that European Union governments will decide on a package of new sanctions against Russia by Friday, calling for "the strongest possible response."
* European shares rose, with French industrial group Legrand outperforming in response to a broker upgrade, but European stock markets remained within a tight range as investors await the European Central Bank's policy decision later this week.
* Asian shares slipped on Tuesday as the U.S. Labor Day holiday robbed markets of momentum, while action was also tempered by persistent geopolitical concerns and anemic manufacturing surveys in Asia and Europe showing pockets of weakness in the global economy. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)