US STOCKS-Futures lower ahead of data on orders, home sales

* U.S. durable good orders, home sales data on tap

* S&P downgrades Ireland; Japanese stocks hit 16-month low

* Futures down: Dow 8 pts, S&P 1 pt, Nasdaq 2.75 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Aug 25 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures
dipped on Wednesday as weakness in equities markets overseas
kept traders cautious ahead of upcoming U.S. data on durable
goods orders and home sales.

* New home sales figures for July will be released at 10
a.m. [1400 GMT], and economists in a Reuters survey expect no
change from the 330,000 unit annual rate in June. A revival of
the housing market is considered crucial for an economic
recovery, and on Tuesday, weak existing home sales data sparked
a sell-off that sent stocks to seven-week lows.

* July durable goods orders are also due, and Wall Street
is expecting a rise in orders of 2.8 percent after a 1.2
percent drop in June.

* Standard & Poor’s late on Tuesday cut its credit rating
on Ireland and assigned it a negative outlook, expecting the
country to face substantially higher costs to support its
ailing financial institutions. For details, see

* Japanese stocks hit a 16-month closing low as
disappointment spread over the lack of policy action by Japan
to rein in the strong yen. Japan’s finance minister sharpened
his rhetoric on the yen’s steep gains after the Nikkei
newspaper reported Japan may consider selling the yen in solo
intervention if speculators drive it up. [ID:nTOE65T00N]

* S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) 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 (DJc1: )
lost 8 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) slid 2.75 points.

* American International Group Inc (AIG.N: ) is expected to
decide by early next week whether to enter formal negotiations
with strategic investors for its Asian life insurance business,
AIA, sources familiar with the process told Reuters on
Wednesday. [ID:nTOE67O06R]

* JDS Uniphase Corp (JDSU.O: ) is the sole S&P 500 company
scheduled to report quarterly results on Wednesday, and the
telecommunications equipment maker is expected to swing to a
fourth-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.).

* Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc (TOL.N: ) swung to a
third-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) and said it expects gross margins before
interest and write-downs to improve in its fourth-quarter.
Shares of Toll closed Tuesday at $16.19. [ID:nSGE67O0GI]

* The Dow and S&P 500 notched their fourth straight day of
losses on Tuesday as the unexpectedly large drop in home sales
ratcheted up concerns that the economic recovery is even weaker
than feared.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Futures lower ahead of data on orders, home sales