US STOCKS-Futures down as June rate hike looms
* Futures down: Dow 32 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 10.25 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
May 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday as investors digested the possibility of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates as early as next month.
* Minutes from the Fed's April meeting, released on Wednesday, caught the market by surprise as they showed that most policymakers thought a June rate hike was appropriate, given continued improvement in the U.S. economy.
* Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer is expected to speak at a conference at 9:15 a.m. ET (1315 GMT) in New York, while New York Fed president William Dudley will speak at 10:30 a.m. ET.
* Wall Street pared gains in volatile trading and closed flat on Wednesday after Fed officials said they were more confident that inflation was rising and were less concerned about a global economic slowdown.
* Following the release of the minutes on Wednesday, traders were projecting a 34 percent chance of the central bank raising rates in June, up from 15 percent on Tuesday, according to the CME FedWatch tool.
* The dollar index jumped to a two-month high of 95.33 against a basket of major currencies.
* Investors looking for clues on the health of the U.S. retail sector will parse quarterly earnings results from companies such as Gap, Ross Stores and Dick's Sporting. Continuación...