European shares are seen opening flat to higher Wednesday as the markets await the results of the European Central Bank’s latest Long Term Financing Operation (LTRO)—an injection of capital designed to shore up Europe’s banks.
Markets expect banks to borrow about 500 billion euros ($670 billion) of relatively cheap three-year funds. The results of the offering are expected around 10:00 a.m. GMT (5:00 a.m. ET).
Ireland will put the new euro zone fiscal treaty to a referendum, which will be seen as a test of its appetite for fiscal union with other euro zone members. The outcome will not be known for months, because of the time taken to organize and hold a referendum.
In the U.S. , Mitt Romney narrowly beat his close rival Rick Santorum in both the Michigan and Arizona Primaries. Both Republicans are now keeping their eye on “Super Tuesday,” March 6, when a total of ten states hold primaries to decide who should challenge Barack Obama for the White House in November.
In bond auction news, Germany is the only European country to be tendering on Wednesday, where it is expected to offer around 4 billion euros in 10-year bonds at 10:30 GMT (5:30 a.m. ET).
Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, meets with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos later today to discuss the implementation of that country’s financial assistance program.