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US stock futures mildly lower after housing data

U.S. stock futures were in mild decline on Wednesday, with traders waiting on minutes from the latest meeting of the Federal Reserve.

Stock-index futures retained losses after data had housing starts falling 2.8 percent and building permits rising 4.8 percent in October.

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The Fed minutes from its October policy meeting are due at 2 p.m. ET and could provide further clues as to the future path of interest rates, as the central bank steps back from monetary easing. The publication of the Fed's September meeting minutes saw U.S. stock markets rally.

Wall Street subway station NYSE
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Data-wise, weekly MBA Mortgage Index came in better than expected.

Companies reporting third-quarter earnings on Wednesday include Lowe's, Staples and Target.

Lowe's posted earnings and revenue that topped expectations, sending its shares higher in premarket trading. Target gained after reporting better-than-expected quarterly sales.

The Bank of Japan on Wednesday kept its massive stimulus program intact, in the wake of data that showed the economy in recession and ahead of snap elections expected next month.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to reflect that companies reporting earnings on Wednesday include Lowe's, Staples and Target, and markets will be open on Thursday.