US STOCKS-Wall St was set for lower open ahead of Fed meeting
* Housing starts fall to lowest levels in a year
* American Airlines shares up; oil prices fall
* Futures down: Dow 41 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 1 pt (Adds market moves, commentary)
By Sinead Carew
March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures implied a lower open on Tuesday after a rally in the previous session and ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting that could give investors a gauge on the timing of an interest rate hike.
The Federal Open Market Committee is due to start a two-day meeting on Tuesday and is expected to put out its statement and projections on Wednesday afternoon.
Most economists expect the Fed to remove a pledge to be "patient" about raising interest rates from its statement, giving it flexibility on when to kick off its first rate hike since 2006.
The benchmark S&P 500 index on Monday saw its biggest percentage gain since Feb. 3. Last week, the Dow and S&P registered their third week of losses.
Some investors were giving back gains in the absence of any big news while others were holding tight ahead of the Fed statement, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York. Continuación...