* CPI, housing starts data on tap
* Fed begins two-day policy meeting
* Futures up: Dow 26 pts, S&P 3.25 pts, Nasdaq 8.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, June 17 U.S. stock index futures edged
higher on Tuesday, ahead of impending data on housing and
inflation, and as the Federal Reserve prepared to begin a
two-day policy meeting.
* The S&P 500 has advanced over the past two sessions
and is down 0.7 percent from its record close on June 9 as
escalating violence in Iraq has given investors reason for
caution. Iraq's biggest oil refinery has been shut down and its
foreign staff evacuated, refinery officials said, with local
staff still in place and the military in control of the
* Investors await data at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) in the
form of the consumer price index and housing starts for May. CPI
is expected to rise 0.2 percent versus 0.3 percent a month
earlier. Estimates call for housing starts to decrease slightly
to 1.03 million versus 1.07 million units a month earlier.
* The Fed begins a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, and is
widely expected to chop another $10 billion from its monthly
bond purchases but make few, if any, other concrete policy
moves, putting the focus on whether officials tip their hand on
longer-term plans for interest rates.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 3.25 points and fair
value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract
- indicated a slightly higher open. Dow Jones industrial average
e-mini futures rose 26 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini
futures added 8.75 points.
* Yingli Green Energy shares climbed 4.6 percent to
$3.68 before the opening bell after the company reported a
smaller first-quarter loss.
* U.S.-listed shares of GW Pharmaceuticals jumped
9.7 percent to $84.71 after the company said its experimental
cannabis product Epidiolex showed promising results in children
and young adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
* Gains in Germany's DAX equity index and new signs
of corporate takeover activity lifted European stock markets
after two sessions of declines.
* Most Asian stock markets fell as the deepening conflict in
Iraq and a gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia sapped
investors' appetite for riskier assets.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)