US STOCKS-Wall St to open modestly higher after Alcoa results
* Alcoa higher in premarket after earnings
* Fed minutes on tap at 2pm ET
* Intuitive Surgical slumps after outlook
* Futures up: Dow 53 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 12.5 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set for a modestly higher open on Wednesday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a second straight advance, in the wake of earnings from Alcoa and ahead of the minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting.
* Alcoa Inc gained 4.2 percent to $13.06 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 at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT). 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...