Shares of Oracle fell more than 9% in thin pre-market trading. The shares tumbled late Tuesday, after the business-software maker’s second-quarter adjusted earnings and sales came in short of analysts’ consensus expectations.
Oracle’s news weighed on shares of German rival SAP AG whose U.S.-listed shares fell 4.3% with German shares down 4.2% in Frankfurt.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Nokia and Microsoft mulled alliances with the firm, while Reuters reported that Amazon was rebuffed in overtures to do a deal.
Also on Wednesday, analysts at ThinkEquity upgraded RIM to buy from hold.
Shares of Nike Inc. could be in focus after the company reported second-quarter earnings rose 3% to $469 million, or $1 a share, as sales jumped 18% to $5.7 billion. Analysts expected the company to earn 97 cents a share on sales of $5.63 billion.
In commodities Wednesday, gold for February delivery rose $9 to $1,626.60, after rallying 1.3% in Tuesday’s U.S. session.
FRANKFURT—The European Central Bank allotted a record €489.19 billion ($639.96 billion) in the first of two keenly-awaited three-year refinancing operations Wednesday, easing fears of a new credit crunch in Europe while underscoring that banks expect other sources of funding to remain tight through 2012.
However, analysts played down hopes that the funds would help prop up euro-zone sovereign bond markets, despite the heavy demand, which was at the high end of the market’s expectations.
The ECB said it allotted the three-year loans—the longest maturity ever offered by the central bank—to 523 banks.
- 10:00 a.m.: Existing home sales for November. Economists expect sales at a 5.07-million-unit annualized pace, up from 4.97 million in October. But watch out for big, scary revisions to past numbers.
- We also have the ECB long-term refinancing operation (LTRO). Results could be market-moving; the bigger the number of funds taken the better.
The S&P surged at the open and was up about 2% in the first ten minutes of trading (on very slender volume). The price drifted higher throughout the day to close just shy of 3% at 2.98%. This index trimmed its year-to-date loss of 4.16% yesterday to a mere 1.30% today, although it’s still 8.97% below the April 29th interim high. There are seven trading days left in 2011, so there’s plenty of time for the index to end the year with a gain — and perhaps a new interim high.
From an intermediate perspective, the index is 83.5% above the March 2009 closing low and 20.7% below the nominal all-time high of October 2007.