US STOCKS-Futures flat as data, Fed minutes awaited

* Futures: Dow off 7 pts, S&P down 1 pt, Nasdaq up 1 pt

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed Wednesday ahead of the release of stimulus-influencing inflation data and the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy-making meeting.

* The U.S. Labor Department releases its Consumer Price Index for October at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT). Economists surveyed by Reuters expect an unchanged reading compared with a 0.2 percent rise in September. Excluding food and energy items, the CPI is expected to have risen 0.1 percent, the same gain as in September.

* Real earnings and retail sales for October are also expected at 8:30 a.m. while September business inventories are due at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT).

* Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a speech late Tuesday that echoed dovish comments by his nominated successor, Janet Yellen, said the U.S. central bank will maintain ultra-easy monetary policy for as long as needed. The policy has been a pillar of the current rally in equities.

* Minutes from the Fed's late October meeting will be released at 2:00 p.m. (1900 GMT).

* Deere & Co (DE) reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and forecast 2014 earnings that topped estimates. Its shares gained 2.7 percent in premarket trading.

* S&P 500 futures fell 1 point 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 fell 7 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 1 point.

* Shares of home improvement chain Lowe's (LOW) fell 3.3 percent in premarket trading after it reported a rise in quarterly profit that slightly missed analysts' expectations. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)


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