* Staples tumbles, Lowe's rises after results
* Home resales data expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT
* Fed minutes due at 2:00 p.m. EDT
* Futures off: Dow 29 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Aug 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to dip at
the open on Wednesday as investor caution prevailed 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).
The market is expected to drift in a tight range unless the
Fed surprises with a change in course, said Rick Meckler,
president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in
Jersey City, New Jersey.
"I don't think it's likely the Fed is going to break new
news, but it's certainly a concern," he said.
"Tighter rates should reflect a better economy, and a better
economy should reflect stronger earnings and revenue growth;
it's that second part that's not materializing," said Meckler.
S&P 500 futures fell 3 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 29
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 6 points.
Shares of Toll Brothers fell 0.5 percent in
premarket trading after the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder
reported a jump in revenue as the recovery in the U.S. housing
market gathered pace.
The National Association of Realtors releases data on July
home resales at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT). Economists in a Reuters
survey forecast a total of 5.15 million annualized units versus
5.08 million annualized units in June.
Target warned its annual profit may be near the low
end of its forecast as consumer spending remains cautious; its
shares fell 1.5 percent in premarket trading.
Shares of home improvement chain Lowe's rose 4.7
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 slumped 10.2 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.