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Futures Down as ECB Enthusiasm Wanes
CNBC.com | December 21, 2011 | 08:03 AM EST

Wall Street looked poised for a mixed opening Wednesday, after earlier enthusiasm for a massive European Central Bank loan offering waned.

The European Central Bank offered 489.2 billion euros ($643.8 billion) in an auction of three-year loans, much higher than estimated, with a total of 523 bidders.

Traders polled by Reuters just hours before the operation expected the ECB to allot 310 billion euros up from a forecast of 250 billion euros in a poll on Monday. The move is part of the ECB's Long-Term Refinancing Operations, or LTRO.

Analysts said take-up above 350 billion euros would be a positive sign for strained countries and a potential catalyst for some thawing of the frozen money market, whereas a low amount would increase money and bond market jitters.

Franklin Templeton's Mark Mobius, considered a pioneer in emerging market investment, said he expects the sovereign debtcrisis to be resolved by mid-year in 2012.

"The European crisis isn't as deep and terrible as people think," Mobius said, according to a Reuters report. "Nations there are in a process of negotiations and that takes time."

Traders, though, grew less impressed with the European situation as the morning went on, tempering a rally in European stocks and pulling U.S. futures well off their highs.

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