* Cyprus to spin off Greek units of its battered banks
* ECB to cut off bank funds without bailout deal by Monday
* S&P 500 off nearly 1 pct for the week
* Futures up: S&P 3.6 pts; Dow 42 pts; Nasdaq 7.25 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 22 Wall Street was set for a
slightly higher open on Friday as a banking deal between Greece
and Cyprus eased some concerns about the island nation as it
tries to avoid a financial meltdown and an exit from the euro
that could roil the euro zone.
Cyprus agreed with Greece on a takeover of the Greek units
of Cypriot banks, which ended uncertainty over the fate of those
"The U.S. market has been sort of a separate market (from
global markets) and we are seeing that again today. While the
investors are eyeing the situation in the Cyprus, the feeling is
that something will be done," said Peter Cardillo, chief market
economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
"We may adjust technically today after the decline we had
yesterday. It's a good opportunity to buy."
Russia has rebuffed Cypriot entreaties for aid, leaving the
island's leaders scrambling to strike a bailout deal with the
European Union by next week or face the collapse of its
The European Union has given Cyprus until Monday to raise
5.8 billion euros to secure a 10-billion euro international
bailout. Parliament has already rejected one deal.
S&P 500 futures rose 3.6 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 were up 42
points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.25 points.
Tiffany & Co reported a slightly higher profit for
the quarter that included the holiday season and said net
worldwide sales would rise 6 percent to 8 percent this fiscal
year, with growth in all regions. The stock was
up 3.8 percent in premarket trade.
Blackstone Group LP and General Electric Co's
lending arm have discussed jointly pursuing Dell Inc's
financial-services business, the Wall Street Journal reported,
citing people familiar with the matter. Shares of Blackstone
Group rose 1 percent and GE shares were up 0.7 percent in
Worries about the financial health of Cyprus have weighed on
Wall Street in recent days, pushing the S&P 500 down nearly 1
percent for the week.
"The next few hours will determine the future of the
country," Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianides said
before a parliamentary debate on Friday. "We must all assume our
share of the responsibility."