* Futures down: Dow 28 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 4.25 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Aug 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower on Tuesday, a day after Wall Street closed at record highs and ahead of a raft of economic data.
* The markets are awaiting the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July meeting on Wednesday that would provide clues on when it would be able to raise interest rates and its take on the health of the economy.
* Traders remain largely skeptical of a rate hike in the near term, with inflation running below the Fed’s 2 percent target, mixed economic data and central banks worldwide unleashing stimulus programs to support their economies.
* Traders have priced in a mere 9 percent chance of a rate hike in September and a 37.4 percent chance in December, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
* The dollar index slipped to its lowest level this month after San Francisco Fed President John William said central banks might have to raise inflation targets, focus more on growth and back much looser fiscal policy in future.
* The Labor Department’s consumer price index, expected to be published at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT), is likely to have remained unchanged in July after rising 0.2 percent in June.
* The Commerce Department will release its report on housing starts, which likely slipped to 1.18 million-unit rate last month from 1.19 million-unit in June. The data is also due at 8:30 a.m. ET. A report on industrial production is expected at 9:15 a.m. ET.
* Wall Street closed at record highs on Monday as commodity stocks rose on the back of a weak dollar.
* Oil prices continued to trade at 5-week highs on Tuesday, fueled by talk of producers taking action to prop up the market.
* Dow component Home Depot’s shares fell 0.41 percent in premarket trading after its quarterly sales narrowly missed analysts’ estimates. Shares of rival Lowe’s were down marginally at $81.50.
* Hain Celestial plunged nearly 24 percent to $40.70 after the company said it would delay the release of its fourth-quarter results.
* Specialty chemicals distributor Univar fell 7.3 percent after the company announced the sale of about 21 million shares.
Futures snapshot at 6:47 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were down 28 points, or 0.15 percent, with 17,738 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.1 percent, with 112,640 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 4.25 points, or 0.09 percent, on volume of 15,473 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)