Spreadbetters see Europe stocks down 2.1-2.3 pct on Cyprus plan

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 18, 2013 06:30 hrs

LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to fall sharply on Monday, with Cyprus' plan to tax depositors rattling investors who are concerned that the move, if passed, could set a precedent for future euro zone bailouts.

Breaking with previous EU practice that depositors' savings are sacrosanct, Cyprus and international lenders agreed at the weekend that savers in the island's outsized banking system would take a hit in return for the offer of 10 billion euros ($13 billion) in aid.

"Despite reassurances from Brussels that Cyprus is a special case and that indiscriminate levies won't be a common policy tool, depositors across Europe are doubting their sincerity and are fearing that a new precedent has been set for other debt-laden euro zone countries," Jonathan Sudaria, dealer at Capital Spreads, said in a note.

Financial spreadbetters predicted London's FTSE 100 to open 121 to 138 points lower, or as much as 2.1 percent, Frankfurt's DAX to fall 166 to 171 points, or as much as 2.1 percent, and Paris' CAC 40 to drop 72 to 87 points, or as much as 2.3 percent.

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