* Futures down: Dow 15 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 9.5 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
May 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower on Thursday, a day after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting bolstered expectations that interest rates would stay near zero until later this year.
* Officials at the Fed’s April policy meeting believed it would be premature to raise rates in June, according to the minutes, even though most felt the U.S. economy was set to rebound from a dismal start to the year - a notion that could be tested on Thursday when a raft of data is due.
* Data is expected to show new applications for unemployment insurance likely picked up last week from the preceding week when they hit their lowest levels in nearly 15 years. The jobless claims data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).
* Data measuring the growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector in May is due at 9:45 a.m. ET and 15 minutes later the National Association of Realtors data is expected to show that sales of used homes increased last month.
* The central bank debated in its April 28-29 policy meet whether a slew of disappointing data, including weak consumer spending, signaled a temporary slump or evidence of a longer-lasting slowdown.
* The Fed has kept interest rates at near zero for almost a decade, which has made funds cheaper and helped the stock market reach record highs.
* The S&P 500 hit a record intraday high on Wednesday. The Dow, which had closed at record highs in the previous two sessions, was also briefly on track for another all-time high close.
* Salesforce.com shares rose 5.7 percent to $74.16 in premarket trading after the cloud software company, the subject of takeover speculation for the past few weeks, reported a profit for the first time in seven quarters.
* NetApp fell 11.5 percent to $31.25 after the data storage equipment maker reported lower-than-expected quarterly results and cut about 500 jobs.
* Best Buy jumped 10.4 percent to $37.30 after the consumer electronics chain reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and sales.
* Omnicare shares rose 1.7 percent to $96.20 after CVS Health said it will buy the pharmacy service provider for $10.1 billion. CVS was up 1.7 percent at $103.
* Hewlett-Packard, Intuit and Gap are scheduled to report results after the close.
Futures snapshot at 7:36 a.m. EDT:
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.09 percent, with 83,668 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 9.5 points, or 0.21 percent, on volume of 9,988 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 15 points, or 0.08 percent, with 14,320 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal)