* Oplink jumps, to be bought by Koch Industries’ subsidiary
* Lowe’s shares rise after results
* Cliffs Natural Resources shares slide
* Futures down: Dow 14 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 1.5 pts (Updates prices, adds byline)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open slightly lower on Wednesday following record closing highs for both the Dow and S&P 500 and ahead of minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting.
U.S. housing starts unexpectedly fell in October but a jump in permits to near a 6-1/2-year high suggested the housing market was steadily regaining strength.
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 Fed’s path is diverging from other major central banks that are increasing their stimulus programs. This view has helped strengthen the U.S. dollar, weighing on crude oil and other commodity prices.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 2 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 slightly lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 14 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 1.5 points.
Target Corp shares rose 2.9 percent in premarket trading after the fourth-largest U.S. retailer reported better-than-expected quarterly sales.
Shares of the No. 2 U.S. home improvement products retailer Lowe’s rose 4.5 percent premarket after it raised its full-year profit and sales forecast as an improving job market encourages home owners to increase spending on renovations.
Staples gained 3.5 percent premarket after it reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales and profit as demand recovered for core office supplies.
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 14.9 percent premarket.
Shares of Vipshop fell 7.7 percent premarket after the Chinese online discount retailer’s sales forecast failed to beat estimates for the first time this fiscal year.
Oplink Communications shares jumped 13.7 percent premarket as it is being purchased by Koch Optics, a subsidiary of privately-help Koch Industries, for about $445 million.
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.
Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski