* Cyprus works on tax levy deal to get bailout approved
* NAHB housing market index on tap
* Futures off: S&P 12.8 pts; Dow 92 pts; Nasdaq 23 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 18 U.S. stock index futures fell
sharply on Monday as investors, rattled by a radical bailout
plan for Cyprus reached over the weekend that knocked confidence
in European banks, became sellers, locking in profits from the
Monday's sharp decline comes after Wall Street ended lower
on Friday, breaking the Dow Jones industrial average's longest
winning streak since 1996. Albeit, the blue chip index is still
up nearly 11 percent for year and the S&P 500 is up more than 9
percent so far in 2013.
The announcement that Cyprus would impose a tax on bank
accounts as part of a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout
shook markets globally, as it broke with previous European
practice that depositors' savings were sacrosanct.
"This is disturbing because it creates uncertainty but the
euro zone has gone through much worse than this and this is a
bit of an excuse for the market to sell," said Peter Cardillo,
chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
"The market needs to rest here."
Cyprus's government was working on a proposal to soften the
blow of a bank deposit levy on smaller savers ahead of a
parliament vote on Monday on the measure that is central to a
euro zone bailout designed to avert bankruptcy.
In the United States, the National Association of Home
Builders/Wells Fargo issues the housing market index for March
at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey
expect a reading of 47, versus 46 in February.
Europe's Airbus has signed a 18.4-billion-euro deal
($24 billion) with low-cost Indonesian carrier Lion Air for 234
single-aisle passenger planes, poaching one of archrival
Boeing's fastest growing customers.
To get its 787 Dreamliner flying again, Boeing Co is testing
the plane's volatile battery system to a rigorous standard that
the company itself helped develop - but that it never used on
Highbridge Capital Management, a hedge fund manager owned by
JPMorgan Chase & Co, has raised a $5 billion mezzanine
debt fund, a spokesman said on Sunday, the latest alternative
asset firm seeking to seize on corporate credit opportunities.
S&P 500 futures fell 12.8 points and were 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 92
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 23 points.
U.S. futures regulators are looking into whether high-speed
traders indulged in "wash trading," a strategy in which they
improperly buy and sell futures contracts without taking a
position in the market, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing
people familiar with the probes.
Directories publishers Dex One Corp and SuperMedia
Inc have filed for bankruptcy after failing to win the
full support of senior secured lenders for a change to a credit
agreement that was needed to complete their planned merger.