* Futures off: Dow 38 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 14.5 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set for a lower open on Monday, putting the S&P 500 on track to pull back from near-record levels after China’s finance minister indicated the country will not increase stimulus measures, with data on the housing market due shortly after the opening bell.
China will not dramatically alter its economic policy because of any one economic indicator, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Sunday, days after many economists lowered growth forecasts having seen the latest set of weak data.
U.S. housing data for August is due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). Expectations call for existing home sales to increase to an annual rate of 5.2 million units versus 5.15 million in July. Economic data will be plentiful this week, highlighted by the final reading of gross domestic product on Friday.
The Dow closed at a record high on Friday and the S&P 500 was little changed in a heavy volume session due to “quadruple witching,” when stock options, index options, index futures and single-stock futures all expire, as well as the initial public offering of Alibaba Group.
“The market is probably pulling back from the fact we closed pretty much at record territories,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
“Post options expiration is part of it and the euphoria of Alibaba is out of the way, and this week we have revisions to gross domestic product on Friday.”
S&P 500 e-mini futures were falling 7 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 38 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 14.5 points.
Sigma-Aldrich shares were up 34 percent to $137.13 after German drugs and chemicals maker Merck KGaA agreed to acquire Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion in cash to boost its life science business.
Yahoo shares were trading down 2 percent to $40.11 as the most actively traded stock on the Nasdaq. The stock was downgraded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Bernstein in the wake of the Alibaba Group debut Friday. Alibaba shares were down 0.5 percent to $93.40 in premarket.
Dresser-Rand shares were up 2.6 percent to $81.95 in premarket after Germany’s Siemens agreed to buy Dresser-Rand, a U.S. oilfield equipment maker, for $7.6 billion in cash. The stock had rallied more than 17 percent last week in anticipation of the deal. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)