* Futures down: Dow 58 pts, S&P 8.5 pts, Nasdaq 37.5 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
July 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday ahead of data on trade and private sector hiring, a day after the Federal Reserve’s policy minutes failed to provide a clear picture of future interest rate increases.
* Fed policymakers were increasingly split on the outlook for inflation and how it might affect the future pace of interest rate hikes, according to minutes of the Fed’s last policy meeting released on Wednesday.
* The Fed’s preferred measure of underlying inflation slipped to 1.4 percent in May and has run below the 2 percent target for more than five years now.
* The minutes revealed a few officials viewed equity prices as high when compared to standard valuation measures, even though earnings growth has been robust.
* The S&P 500 has been trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, compared with the long-term average of 15 times.
* The ADP National Employment Report is expected to show that private employers added 185,000 jobs in June, down from 253,000 jobs in May. The data is expected at 8:15 a.m. ET (1215 GMT) and comes before the more comprehensive non-farm monthly jobs data due Friday.
* Weekly jobless claims are expected to have dropped to 243,000 from 244,000 the week before. Separately, ISM is likely to report its non-manufacturing activity index for June slipped to 56.5 from 56.9 the month before.
* The Commerce Department is likely to report U.S. trade deficit of $46.2 billion in May, compared with $47.6 billion in April.
* Fed Governor Jerome Powell and Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer are scheduled to make appearances later in the day.
* A steep drop in oil prices dragged energy shares lower and kept the Dow and S&P 500 in check on Wednesday, while the Nasdaq was buoyed by gains in tech stocks.
* Shares of Tesla were down 2.6 percent in premarket trading after the luxury electric carmaker’s Model S did not get the top score in certain tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
* BeiGene jumped 9 percent after biopharmaceutical company Celgene said it would buy a stake in the company.
* Costco rose 3 percent after the retailer reported a rise in its June sales number.
Futures snapshot at 7:05 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were down 58 points, or 0.27 percent, with 23,307 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 8.5 points, or 0.35 percent, with 137,224 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 37.5 points, or 0.66 percent, on volume of 28,616 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)