* Housing starts, Fed minutes on tap
* Tesla to report earnings after the close
* Futures down: Dow 6 pts, S&P 6 pts, Nasdaq 8.25 pts
NEW YORK, Feb 19 U.S. stock index futures fell on Wednesday on investor caution ahead of the release of housing data and minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting of policymakers.
* Housing starts data, due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT), will provide a glimpse into the possible impact of a severe U.S. winter on recent economic data. On Tuesday, data showed U.S. homebuilder confidence suffered its largest one-month drop ever in February, suggesting recent signs of weakness in the economy may reflect deeper problems than the winter's impact.
* At 2:00 p.m. EST, the U.S. central bank will release minutes of its January policy meeting, at which it decided to further trim its monthly bond buying program.
* Tesla shares were in focus after they hit an all-time high of $206.00 in the previous session. Shares of the company, which reports earnings after the close, were down 1.1 percent in premarket trading.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 6 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 6 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 8.25 points.
* Currency dealers kept an eye on China's central bank after it drained funds from the money market on Tuesday. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) is trying to engineer a gradual upward shift in the cost of money to encourage companies to deleverage and discourage high-risk shadow banking activity.
* Investors were anxious in case the monetary tightening in the world's second-largest economy goes too far and hurts economic growth. Such concerns have periodically put pressure on global currencies and shares.
* Herbalife LTD shares were up 1.5 percent in premarket trading a day after the nutritional-supplement company reported fourth-quarter earnings.
* Kay Jewelers parent Signet Jewelers said it would acquire smaller rival Zale Corp for $21 per share in cash, valuing the mid-tier jeweler at about $690 million. The offer represents a premium of about 41 percent to Zale's close of $14.91 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Shares of Signet gained 13.9 percent in premarket trading while Zale jumped more than 40 percent.
* On Tuesday, the Nasdaq Composite rose for an eighth straight session, a run not seen since early July.