* Futures down: Dow 56 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 20 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
June 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Tuesday as investors were cautious ahead of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting and as the Greek debt crisis showed no signs of abating.
* The central bank is unlikely to raise rates at this meeting but investors will watch for any hints from Fed Chair Janet Yellen at a press conference after the meeting on Wednesday about the timing of a possible rate increase.
* The Fed has said it remains data-dependent and will raise rates only when it sees an improvement in the economy. Second-quarter data points to a recovery after a halt in growth earlier in the year.
* World markets were down with European shares hitting a near four-month low as financial markets braced for the possibility of Greece defaulting on its debt.
* Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told a German newspaper that he is not planning to present new reform proposals at a Eurogroup meeting on Thursday, despite warnings from the rest of Europe that time is running out.
* There is an even chance of Greece defaulting on its debt payments, according to economists polled by Reuters, although the probability of it leaving the euro zone is still only one-in-three.
* New home constructions likely slowed in May, even as rising demand for housing has led to a shortage in inventory and pushed prices up. The data, to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT), is expected to show that groundbreaking for new homes fell to a 1.1 million-unit rate in May, from a 1.135 million-unit rate in April.
* Avalanche Biotechnologies shares fell 48.9 percent to $19.85 in premarket trading, a day after the eye drug developer’s experimental therapy showed that vision improvement was not significant. The result prompted brokerages to cut their ratings on the stock.
* American Airlines slipped 0.6 percent to $39.85 after it said it would push back delivery of 35 Airbus Group A320neo family jetliners by several years.
Futures snapshot at 7:09 a.m. ET:
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 6.5 points, or 0.31 percent, with 105,009 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 20.25 points, or 0.46 percent, on volume of 8,487 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 56 points, or 0.31 percent, with 4,066 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)