Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, Feb. 19:
1.-- U.S. stock futures were pointing lower Wednesday ahead of housing starts data, and as key offshore markets decline.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.5% to 14,766.53 after a 3.1% gain the day before on increased stimulus measures from the Bank of Japan.
2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes housing starts and building permits for January at 8:30 a.m. EST, the Producer Price Index for January at 8:30 a.m., and minutes from the Jan. 29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting at 2 p.m.
3.-- U.S. stocks on Tuesday closed mixed as poor reports from the homebuilding and manufacturing sectors weighed against a $25 billion merger deal in the biotech sector.
The S&P 500 rose 0.11% to close at 1,840.73 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.15% to 16,130.27. The Nasdaq rose 0.68% to 4,272.78.
4.-- The Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday that a minimum wage hike would reduce employment but boost families' incomes.
The report comes amid a debate among Democrats and Republicans in Washington as to whether the U.S. should increase minimum wage requirements, an argument that could have serious ramifications for control of the House and Senate during the 2014 midterm elections.
The CBO examined the wage-hike effects based on two scenarios: a $10.10 option versus a $9 option.
In the fully implemented $10.10 minimum, the agency found a central estimate of about 500,000 workers would lose their jobs, while boosting income for low-wage workers by $31 billion. However, the CBO said just $5.89 billion of that estimate would accrue for families living below the poverty threshold.