* FOMC to start two-day meeting
* CPI, housing starts data on tap
* Futures up: Dow 31 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 5 pts
NEW YORK, June 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Tuesday, trading in a tight range ahead of the start of a highly anticipated Federal Reserve meeting.
* The Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee starts a two-day meeting Tuesday and markets are on tenterhooks as traders try to anticipate the Fed’s timeline for winding down a bond-buying program that has been fundamental for price moves in various markets.
* The meeting has shaken markets significantly after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in May the Fed could scale down its stimulus if the U.S. economy gains momentum, comments that brought the equities rally to a halt.
* S&P 500 futures rose 2 points and were above 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 rose 31 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5 points.
* On the macro front, the Labor Department releases its May Consumer Price Index (CPI) at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.2 percent rise compared with a 0.4 percent drop in April. Excluding food and energy, CPI is seen up 0.2 percent compared with a 0.1 percent rise in April.
* Also at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) the Commerce Department releases housing starts and permits for May. Economists forecast a 950,000 annualized rate in May versus 853,000 in April.