US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of data, Fed minutes
* Lowe's shares rise after results
* Cliffs Natural Resources shares slide
* Futures: Dow up 1 pt, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 2.5 pts
NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday following record closing highs for both the Dow and S&P 500 and ahead of housing data and minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting.
* Data on housing starts and building permits for October is due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) while the Fed is set to publish minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's October policy meeting at 2:00 p.m. EST (1900 GMT).
* The minutes are expected to show the diverging path of the Fed compared to other major central banks that are growing their stimulus programs. This view has helped strengthen the U.S. dollar, weighing on crude oil and other commodity prices.
* Lowe's shares rose 4.5 percent in premarket trading after the No. 2 U.S. home improvement products retailer raised its full-year profit and sales forecast as an improving job market encourages home owners to increase spending on renovations.
* Cliffs Natural Resources said it was looking to exit its Eastern Canadian iron ore operations, which may result in the closure of its Bloom Lake mine in Quebec. Its shares fell 7.1 percent premarket.
* Dollar General may need to close more than 4,000 stores to win approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its acquisition of Family Dollar Stores, the New York Post reported citing two sources close to the situation. Continuación...