US STOCKS-Wall St set for lower open; Fed minutes on tap

miércoles 19 de febrero de 2014 09:58 GYT

* U.S. housing starts, permits tumble in Jan

* Fed minutes on tap

* Tesla to report earnings after the close

* Futures down: Dow 37 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 3.5 pts

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open lower on Wednesday amid caution ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting, even as investors brushed off weak housing data.

* U.S. housing starts recorded their biggest drop in almost three years in January, likely due to harsh winter weather, though the third month of declines in permits pointed to some underlying weakness in the housing market.

* The data was among a slew of recent economic reports impacted by a severe U.S. winter, including U.S. homebuilder confidence on Tuesday which suffered its largest one-month drop in February.

* At 2:00 p.m. EST (1900 GMT), the U.S. central bank will release minutes of its January policy meeting, at which it decided to further trim its monthly bond buying program.   Continuación...