* Starwood rises after getting unsolicited buyout proposal
* Crude oil prices slip more than 2 pct
* Futures down: Dow 21 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 10.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 14 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open slightly lower on Monday as investors pause ahead of a busy week that includes the release of a slew of economic data and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting.
Crude prices, which have dictated the direction of the stock market this year, fell more than 2 percent after Iran quashed hopes of a quick deal by major producers to freeze output.
Steadying oil prices and data pointing to strengthening U.S. economy have helped stocks recover from a steep selloff at the start of the year. The S&P 500 is now down only 1 percent in 2016, after falling as much as 10.5 percent.
“You have a little pullback this morning and I don’t see it as anything more than that, unless something material, i.e. the Fed goes back on their word, come Wednesday,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
“Right now, it looks to be like a healthy pullback and a little profit-taking off the strength on Friday,” Bakhos said.
The S&P and the Dow recorded their highest close of 2016 on Friday.
At 8:31 a.m. ET (1231 GMT) on Monday, Dow e-minis were down 21 points, or 0.12 percent, with 7,252 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.5 points, or 0.22 percent, with 134,044 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 10.25 points, or 0.24 percent, on volume of 9,195 contracts.
The Fed is not expected to raise interest rates at the two-day meeting, which begins on Tuesday, but investors will be on the lookout for the central bank’s comments on the economy and its plan to hike rates amid global economic weakness.
Central bank intervention has been at the forefront of efforts by major economies to calm financial markets and spark growth at a time when demand and inflation remain low.
The Bank of Japan began a two-day meeting on Monday and is expected to keep policy unchanged after adopting negative interest rates in late January.
Shares of Starwood Hotels & Resorts were up 8.3 percent at $76.30 premarket after the company received a takeover offer of $76 per share from a consortium of companies.
HCA Holdings was up 1.2 percent at $74.95 after JP Morgan raised its rating on the stock to “overweight”. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Don Sebastian)