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Wall Street gears up for Fed minutes; dollar gains eyed

U.S. stock index futures indicated a flat to higher open for Wall Street shares Wednesday ahead of the release of the minutes of April's Federal Reserve meeting, following another record close for the Dow Jones the previous session.

On an otherwise quiet day for U.S. economic data, attention is expected to turn to the Fed minutes at 2:00 p.m. ET. The Fed's last meeting was a relatively uneventful one and preceded the release of several softer-than-expected economic figures.

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A trader works on the floor of the NYSE as Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks on television during a June news conference.
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the NYSE as Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks on television during a June news conference.

"However, the Fed's data-dependent judgement as to when to tighten policy will still leave the Committee's latest deliberations on output, employment and pricing pressures worth watching," Emily Nicol, an economist at Daiwa Capital Markets, said in a note.

The dollar spiked to a three week high against the euro early on Wednesday before the release of the minutes and after the European Central Bank pledged to up its quantitative easing efforts on Tuesday.

Treasury yields reversed early gains to trade slightly lower, with the 10-year yield at 2.25 percent. The benchmark yield earlier traded near 2.28 percent.

Major earnings releases scheduled for release include Lowe's, Hormel Foods, Staples, Target before market open. L Brands, NetApp, Salesforce.com, Williams-Sonoma, American Eagle Outfitters are all due to report after the bell.

Lowe's–The home improvement retailer missed estimates by four cents with quarterly profit of 70 cents per share. Revenue missed forecasts, and same-store sales rose less than expected. JPMorgan Chase analyst Chris Horvers told CNBC that rival Home Depot has an advantage over Lowe's in both execution and store location.

Hormel Foods reported quarterly profit of 67 cents per share, five cents above estimates, although revenue was shy of forecasts. Hormel does say that its Jennie-O turkey business could be "significantly challenged" due to the impact of the bird flu outbreak in the U.S. However, Hormel did reaffirm its full-year earnings forecast

Staples matched estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of 17 cents per share, but revenue fell short and sales fell more than anticipated. Staples is in the process of merging with rival Office Depot, just two years after acquiring OfficeMax.

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Target reported earnings of $1.10 a share, beating estimates of $1.03 a share, and raised the low end of its forecast range for the year. Same-store sales rose 2.3 percent, matching expectations from Consensus Metrix, Reuters said.

Markets are also already looking ahead to a speech Friday from Fed chief Janet Yellen for possible new clues on when the central bank may start raising interest rates.

Yellen is scheduled to speak Friday at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Luncheon at 1 p.m. She is not expected to take questions.

European equities edged down on Wednesday, giving up some of the previous day's strong gains.

UBS shares traded in U.S. markets may also be in focus after the Swiss bank said on Wednesday it had agreed to pay $545 million in combined fines and plead guilty to one count of wire fraud in a separate matter in a settlement with U.S. authorities over alleged rigging of the currency markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record for the second day in a row on Tuesday, ending below and intraday high of 18,351.36 set earlier that session.

CNBC's Peter Schacknow and Reuters contributed to this report.