May 18, 2016 / 1:02 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open lower ahead of Fed minutes

* Target falls as sales miss estimates

* Wal-Mart, Costco also fall following Target results

* Tesla up after Goldman Sachs upgrades to “buy”

* Futures down: Dow 56 pts, S&P 5.75 pts, Nasdaq 9 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

May 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street looked set to open lower on Wednesday as a fall in Target’s shares weighed on futures ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s April meeting.

Shares of Target were down 7.4 percent at $68.20 in premarket trading after its quarterly sales missed expectations.

Dow-component Wal-Mart Stores, which reports results on Thursday, was also down 3.2 percent at $63. Costco Wholesale slipped 2.4 percent to $140.13.

The Fed minutes, scheduled to be released at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), could give clues on the path of rate hikes. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said on Tuesday he will advocate for a hike in June or July. Two other Fed officials said they expect up to three rate increases this year.

The central bank next meets on June 14-15 but chances of a hike in June are slim. Traders see a 58 percent probability of a rate hike after the Fed’s November meeting, up from about 42 percent on Monday, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday as investors boosted their bets on the central bank raising rates this year.

“The market got jittery yesterday after comments from the Fed officials but what it’s really looking for is comments from Yellen,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

“I think we could see two rate hikes but September and December are more likely rather than June.”

April data on Tuesday showed the biggest rise in U.S. consumer prices in more than three years as gasoline prices and rents rose, while other data showed housing starts and industrial production rebounded strongly.

The strong data and a recovery in oil prices, which hit seven-month highs on Tuesday, have stoked expectations that inflation will rise further. The Fed has a 2 percent inflation rate target.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 5.75 points, or 0.28 percent, with 200,085 contracts traded at 8:36 a.m. ET. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 9 points, or 0.21 percent, on volume of 25,195 contracts. Dow e-minis were down 56 points, or 0.32 percent, with 30,311 contracts changing hands.

Goldman Sachs on Tuesday downgraded equities to “neutral” over a 12-month time-frame on growth and valuation concerns, saying, “until we see sustained signals of growth recovery, we do not feel comfortable taking equity risk.”

Staples edged up 0.1 to $8.29 after the company reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales, while Lowe’s was up 1 percent to $76.90 after the home improvement chain’s quarterly sales came in above expectations.

Tesla Motors was up 2 percent at $208.66 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the electric car maker’s stock to “buy” from “neutral.” (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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