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Alcoa, FOMC minutes loom large for Wall Street

Wall Street looked set to open flat on Wednesday, as the market rout continued in Asian and European stock markets.

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The minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)'s meeting in September will be the main point of interest on Wall Street, and are out at 2 p.m. ET. They come after a global risk sell-off on Tuesday that saw the S&P 500 fall 1.5 percent to clock up its sixth worst day of the year.

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"The market may well have got ahead of itself following September's meeting that saw the "dots" point to a more hawkish Federal Reserve and suggestions that rate hikes might come sooner and be more frequent than was previously thought," said Angus Campbell, a senior analyst at FxPro, in a note on Wednesday.

Also, Wednesday will see Alcoa unofficially kicking off third-quarter earnings season, with numbers out after Wall Street closes.

"We think company analyst estimates have not fully adjusted to a stronger U.S. dollar and weaker international economic conditions," said Barclays equity strategist Jonathan Glionna in a note.

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"We expect fewer companies to beat revenue estimates, although many should still exceed earnings per share (EPS) estimates."

Stocks to watch before the bell include GrubHub, for which JMP Securities began coverage of the food takeout service with a rating of "market outperform," based on ease of use of the platform, as well as highly positive feedback from participating restaurants.

CLSA upgraded Applied Materials to "outperform" from "underperform," saying the company's execution has improved.

Allergan will get a new takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals worth $191 per share, $15 higher than the prior bid, according to Dow Jones. Valeant and partner Bill Ackman of Pershing Square are said to be still working out timing and the mix of cash and stock to be offered. Separately, Reuters reports that Actavis is planning to approach Allergan again about a potential takeover deal.

Other stocks in focus include Yum Brands, which declined more than 1 percent in extended-hours trade on Tuesday after reporting earnings and revenue that narrowly missed expectations.

GT Advanced Technologies, Apple's sapphire substrate producer, gained nearly 5 percent in after-hours trade. This built on Tuesday's recovery, after shares slid on Monday on reports that it had filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Rubicon Technology, a rival of GT Advanced Technologies, fell more than 1 percent in extended-hours trade on Tuesday.