* Soft demand at Italian debt auction sparks news fears
* Pending U.S. home sales data on tap
* Futures down: Dow 8.1 pts; S&P 64 pts; Nasdaq 13.25 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 27 U.S. stock index futures fell
on Wednesday, after a robust rally a day earlier, as soft demand
at an Italian debt auction sparked fresh jitters over the
financial health of the euro zone.
The Dow climbed more than 100 points Tuesday to another
record close, and the S&P 500 rose to within striking distance
of its all-time closing high, on optimism about the economy.
"I suspect that we are seeing institutions reposition their
positions and the new worries from Europe are causing a bit of
technical hiccup in the market today after a solid day
yesterday," said Peter Cardillo of Rockwell Global Capital in
Italy paid more to borrow over five years than it has since
October at an auction Wednesday as lack of progress in forming a
new government and worries about Cyprus's bailout hit demand.
The treasury sold $5 billion of the new June 2018 bond at a
yield of 3.65 percent, two days after an election in which no
party won enough seats to govern.
Cyprus is finalizing capital control measures to prevent a
run on its banks by depositors anxious about their savings,
after wealthy depositors were penalized under a rescue package
agreed with international lenders. Cypriot banks are due to
reopen on Thursday.
European stocks slid and the euro currency fell to a
four-month low against the dollar on Wednesday.
U.S. investors awaited data on pending home sales for
February, due at 10:00 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).
S&P 500 futures fell 8.1 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 lost 64
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 13.25 points.
As Boeing works to regain permission for its 787
Dreamliner to resume flights, the company faces what could be a
costly new challenge - a temporary ban on some of the
long-distance, trans-ocean journeys the jet was intended to fly.
The stock fell 0.3 percent in premarket trade.
BlackBerry will be in focus after data
released Tuesday showed short interest in the stock is at record
levels and has more than doubled over the course of the last
year. Shares were down 0.4 percent in premarket
T-Mobile USA said Tuesday it will start selling Apple Inc's
iPhone on April 12, making it the last of the big
national U.S. operators to sell the popular smartphone. The No.
4 U.S. mobile provider hopes the device can help stem customer
Wal-Mart Stores Inc said Tuesday it is "probable"
the company will incur losses relating to allegations that its
representatives had bribed officials in Mexico to speed up
expansion there. The stock was off 0.5 percent
in premarket trading.
U.S. prosecutors are examining whether JPMorgan Chase & Co
fully alerted authorities to suspicions about fraudster
Bernard Madoff, the New York Times reported, citing people with
direct knowledge of the matter. The stock was
off 0.8 percent in premarket trade.