* Obama requests Congress delay vote on Syria
* Apple falls after unveiling new iPhones
* Futures: Dow up 4 pts, S&P off 1.7 pts, Nasdaq off 12.75
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set for a slightly lower open on Wednesday, as the S&P 500 appeared set to pause after a six-day run of gains and President Barack Obama pledged to explore Russia’s diplomatic plan to remove chemical weapons from Syria.
Obama said a Russian offer to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to place his government’s chemical weapons under international control increased the odds of putting off a limited military strike that he is considering, but voiced skepticism about the plan.
“I don’t see any compelling reason why the market should sell off here and certainly with the potential international diplomacy bomb being defused, we will move sideways here for the next few days until we get the Fed next week,” said Keith Bliss, senior vice president at Cuttone & Co in New York.
The strike had been proposed in response to evidence showing the Assad government was behind an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 Syrian civilians, including children.
Obama asked leaders in Congress to put off a vote on his request to authorize the use of military force in order to allow diplomacy to play out.
The Federal Reserve is scheduled to begin a two-day policy meeting on Sept. 17, at the conclusion of which many market participants expect the central bank to announce it will begin to scale back its bond-buying program, which has been a major factor in the 18.1 percent gain in the S&P 500 this year.
Apple Inc shares dropped 4.1 percent to $474.52 in premarket trading and may weigh on the S&P and Nasdaq after the market opens. Both Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowered the stock to a “neutral” rating after the company unveiled new iPhone models Tuesday.
“Apple is a victim of their own success. They have gotten in the unfortunate circumstance where every time they have one of these events, people want them to come out with some groundbreaking technology that is just going to change everybody’s lives - it’s just not going to happen,” Bliss said.
The benchmark S&P 500 has gained 3.1 percent over the past six sessions, its longest winning streak in two months, as concerns ebbed about a Western military strike against Syria and as data showed improving growth in China, the world’s second-biggest economy.
S&P 500 futures slipped 1.7 points and were slightly 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 were up 4 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 12.75 points.
Texas Instruments edged down 0.4 percent to $40.14 in light premarket trading after the No. 3 U.S. chipmaker lowered its third-quarter forecast.
Economic data expected on Wednesday includes wholesale inventories for July at 10:00 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect inventories to have risen 0.3 percent compared with a 0.2 percent drop in June.
Harvest Natural Resources Inc surged 38.6 percent to $5.75 in premarket trading after the oil and gas producer said it was in exclusive talks to sell itself to Argentina’s Pluspetrol in a deal valued at about $373 million including debt.