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.
Attention focused as well on Oracle , which will be in the spotlight after it posted earningsthat fell short of Wall Street's forecasts for the first time in a decade after the bell on Tuesday; Oracle's software and hardware sales sputtered, stoking fears a global recession will hurt tech spending. Shares of the company tumbled 10 percent in premarket trading.