* Staples shares tumble, Lowe's rises after results
* Fed minutes due at 2:00 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT
* Futures off: Dow 34 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 10 pts
NEW YORK, Aug 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures dipped
in thin trading Wednesday amid investor caution ahead of the
publication of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve
* The S&P 500 rose on Tuesday to cap a four-day losing
streak, but remained under technical pressure as it closed below
its 50-day moving average for a third straight session. The
benchmark closed roughly five points below that level, now at
1,657.65, which is becoming technical resistance.
* Retailers led gains in the previous session and will
continue to be in focus in early trading as results from
companies including Lowe's and Target take center stage.
* Investors have been grappling over the past several weeks
with uncertainty over when the Fed will begin to wind down its
$85 billion a month stimulus program. Minutes from the Fed's
July meeting, which may provide clues about policymakers' plans
for so-called quantitative easing, will be released at 2:00 p.m.
EDT (1800 GMT).
* S&P 500 futures fell 4 points and were below 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 fell 34
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 10 points.
* Shares of Toll Brothers rose 1.1 percent in
premarket trading after the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder
reported a jump in revenue, showing signs of a recovering U.S.
* Shares of home improvement chain Lowe's rose 4.6
percent in premarket trading after it reported a
bigger-than-expected rise in profit and sales as the housing
market's recovery encouraged people to spend more on their
* Staples reported weaker-than-expected quarterly
results on dismal sales in international markets and cut its
outlook for the year. Shares dropped 9.4 percent in premarket
* A flood of erroneous trades hit U.S. equity options
markets on Tuesday as they opened for business when Goldman
Sachs sent orders accidentally because of a technical
error, in the latest trading problem to hit markets.