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Stock Futures Lower Ahead of Fed Minutes


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were largely pointing to a lower open on Wall Street Wednesday, following the European markets lower after Japan reported a bigger trade deficit.

Investors were also staying cautious as they awaited the latest housing market data and release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 21 points, or 1.42 points above fair value, at 13,178. Futures for the S&P 500 were slipping 3 points, or 1.37 points below fair value, at 1410. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 were off 3.75 points, or 0.5 points below fair value, at 2770.

The FTSE in London was down 1.09% and the DAX in Germany was off 0.82%, weighed down by cyclical stocks, as Japan's soft export data stoked concerns about global growth.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng index closed behind by 1.06% and the Nikkei in Japan settled down by 0.27%.

The major U.S. equity indices fell on Tuesday, stalling out and reversing gains after reaching their highest levels of the year earlier in the day. Technology stocks led the declines.

After a quiet few days on the economic front, Wednesday kicks off a batch of U.S. data with existing home sales for July at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists surveyed by Reuters are on average expecting the National Association of Realtors to say that existing homes sale rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.52 million last month from a 4.37 million annual rate.

The data will be followed by the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on July 31 later in the afternoon.

Speaking in Beijing on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans, who tends take a dovish stance on policy, said that the Central Bank should provide more accommodation to help support the U.S. economy.

On the corporate front, Toll Bros. (TLB), the Horsham, Pa.-based luxury home builder, reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $61.6 million, or 36 cents a share, on revenue of $554.3 million, ahead of the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a profit of 18 cents a share on revenue of $510.1 million.

Wedbush Morgan downgraded shares of Minneapolis-based consumer electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY - Get Report) to underperform and cut its 12-month price target to $14.50 from $20, citing an "unclear outlook, deteriorating fundamentals and a new CEO who lacks retail experience."

Dell (DELL), the world's No. 2 PC maker, reported second-quarter revenue that trailed analysts' estimates. The company said sales in the current quarter will slip from the second quarter.

Kraft Foods (KFT) said it will sell a majority stake in its 'Back to Nature' food brand to U.S. private equity firm Brynwood Partners. The financial terms were undisclosed.

Amazon (AMZN) said the Kindle Store has become available in India.

October crude oil futures were falling 15 cents at $96.69 a barrel and December gold futures were rising $1.40 at $1,644.30 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 4/32, diluting the yield to 1.79%. The greenback was flat, according to the dollar index.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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