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US stocks seen cautious ahead of Fed minutes

U.S. stock index futures dipped on Wednesday ahead of the release of minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting and in the wake of disappointing housing data.

The minutes, which are from the Fed's January meeting, will be out at 2 p.m. ET. At the meeting, the Fed decided to trim another $10 billion from its monthly bond buying, taking purchases to $65 billion. The meeting was the last for former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and new Chair Janet Yellen has since said the Fed expects to continue with tapering.

"The disappointing economic data has created a chasm and the bad weather has taken most of the blame for this, and we do know that Janet Yellen hasn't provided much explanation for this" said Naeem Aslam of Ava Trade in a morning research note.

"The question on many investors' minds is, if the bad weather is the main reason or if there is something bigger cooking under this cover."

In addition, James Bullard, the president of the Fed Bank of St Louis, is scheduled to speak on Wednesday, along with the Fed's Dennis Lockhart. San Francisco Fed's John Williams will appear on CNBC at 12 p.m.

They may address the disappointing housing data that came out Wednesday, with housing starts falling 16 percent in January on the impact of cold weather. It was the largest percentage decline in three years.

(Read more: Markets want to know if housing activity is freezing again)

U.S. stocks closed mixed on Tuesday, having resumed trade after Monday's public holiday. The Nasdaq Composite rose for an eighth straight session, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped.

(Track: European markets live)

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato

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