US STOCKS-Futures flat after Alcoa results; Fed minutes on tap
* Alcoa up after earnings
* Fed minutes on tap
* Intuitive Surgical forecasts revenue below expectations
* Futures up: Dow 22 pts, S&P 0.5 pt, Nasdaq 5.5 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday, after the S&P 500 managed to halt a three-day losing skid, in the wake of earnings from Alcoa and ahead of the minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting.
* Alcoa Inc gained 2.6 percent to $12.86 in premarket trade after the former Dow component reported a decline in first quarter adjusted profit on Tuesday as aluminum prices dropped, but earnings came in ahead of analysts' expectations.
* S&P 500 companies' first-quarter earnings are projected to have increased just 1 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed. The forecast is down sharply from the start of the year, when profit growth was estimated at 6.5 percent.
* The Federal Reserve is expected to release the minutes from its March 18-19 meeting. The Fed needs to be more specific about what economic conditions would prompt it to raise interest rates from current rock-bottom levels, a pair of top Fed officials normally at odds on policy said on Tuesday. Continuación...