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US STOCKS-Futures rise after Cyprus deal, S&P record in sight

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 12:20 hrs

* Agreement to wind down state-owned bank, target large deposits

* Dell looking into various takeover proposals, shares rise

* S&P 500 about 0.5 pct away from closing high record

* Futures up: Dow 38 pts, S&P 6.5 pts, Nasdaq 15.5 pts

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday after negotiators reached a deal hours before a deadline to avert a financial meltdown in Cyprus and the country's possible exit from the euro zone.

The deal between Cyprus and heads of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund will spare the Mediterranean island a likely banking collapse by winding down the largely state-owned Popular Bank of Cyprus and shifting deposits below 100,000 euros to the Bank of Cyprus to create a "good bank."

"The problems in Cyprus had held the market back a little bit, so I guess there will be some relief. This takes away one of the hurdles for moving higher," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The rise in futures sets the S&P 500 index up to make a new run at its record high. The benchmark index ended last week down 0.2 percent, only its second negative week of the year. At 1,556.89, it is slightly more than 0.5 percent away from breaking its record close of 1,565.15 set in October 2007.

Meckler said a record high on the S&P amid a low interest rate environment will likely lure more investors into equities, serving as a catalyst to move even higher.

A lack of major market-moving economic news in the United States will keep investors focused on developments in Cyprus.

S&P 500 futures rose 6.5 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 rose 38 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 15.5 points.

A special committee of Dell Inc's board is evaluating separate takeover proposals from Blackstone Group and billionaire investor Carl Icahn to decide whether either or both are likely to trump an existing $24.4 billion take-private deal, a source familiar with the discussions said on Sunday. Dell shares rose 2.8 percent in premarket trading.

Merger and acquisition activity has been another of the reasons for the stellar performance of stocks so far this year.

Bank of America Corp Chief Executive Brian Moynihan will need to hold shares likely worth millions of dollars for at least a year after he retires under a new compensation policy that the bank instituted following investor pressure. The bank's shares edged up 1.4 percent in light premarket trading.



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