U.S. stock index futures point to mixed open Tuesday, ahead of the Cyprus parliament’s decision on a controversial bailout plan and taxing policy, while the investors also await the Census Bureau’s data on housing starts and building permits.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.03 percent or 5.00 points, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.01 percent or 0.10 points and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.01 percent or by 0.25 points.
Investors were worried about a proposal to tax bank deposits in Cyprus as part of a €10 billion bailout plan to the nation's over-leveraged banking sector. As a condition for the bailout package, the Cyprus government has agreed to impose a one-time 9.9 per cent tax on all accounts over 100,000 Euros and 6.75 percent on deposits less than the threshold, a move which is expected to raise 5.8 billion Euros ($7.5 billion).
Meanwhile, investors are also likely to focus on the Census Bureau’s housing starts and building permits reports, which are due to be released before the markets open. Housing starts, which measure the change in the annualized number of residential buildings that began construction each month, is expected to rise to 925,000 in February from 890,000 in the previous month.
Building permits, which measure the change in the number of new building permits issued by the government each month, is likely to rise to 920,000 in February, up from 904,000 in January.
U.S. stock markets fell Monday, on concerns over the controversial bailout and bank tax in Cyprus, after a rally that touched multi-year highs last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.43 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.55 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.35 percent.
European stocks traded in the red in the morning market hours as investors await Cypriot parliament's decision on the bailout package. The unprecedented move to tax the depositors has rattled the markets across the regions Monday, and the issue is expected to weigh on the investor sentiment Tuesday.
Most Asian markets had ended higher earlier Tuesday with markets in Japan, Taiwan and China trading in the green, while markets in India and Hong Kong extended losses. The investors in Japan looked beyond the Cyprus bailout concerns as the yen resumed its weak run against the dollar.
The Nikkei ended 2.03 percent higher to 12468.23 while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.53 percent to 1978.56.
China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.78 percent to end at 2257.43. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down by 0.19 percent to close at 22041.86.
Official Chinese data released during the day showed that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to the world's second largest economy eased 1.35 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2013. The data follows an upbeat export figure from the country, which had reinforced optimism that the economy has bottomed out.
India’s benchmark BSE Sensex fell over 1 percent as a key ally of the ruling UPA coalition withdrew its support to the government, demanding strong stand against Sri Lanka in the Tamil human rights violation issue.