Europe's main bank index gained Thursday after the European Central Bank on Thursday said it was delaying the timing of an interest rate increase by at least six months and provided terms for a new series of quarterly targeted longer-term refinancing operations, known as TLTRO. The STOXX Europe 600 Banks Index /zigman2/quotes/210599339/delayed XX:SX7P +1.69% was trading 0.8% higher and extended its gains after the ECB policy update. The targeted loan program for Europe's banks is intended to provide some stimulus to the region's financial system amid signs of economic weakness. Terms of its third round of targeted longer-term refinancing operations, with the rate in each operation to be set 10 basis points above the average rate applied to the Eurosystem's main refinancing operations over the life of the respective operation. For banks whose lending exceeds the benchmark target set by the ECB, the rate will be lower and could run as low as the average interest rate on the deposit facility prevailing over the life of the operation plus 10 basis points. ECB President Mario Draghi's news conference is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Meanwhile, the euro was also gaining /zigman2/quotes/210562001/realtime/sampled USDEUR +0.3573% , up 0.4% against dollars at $1.1263, while the broad-market Europe benchmark, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +2.30% was up 0.4%.
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ECB extends forward guidance on rates, sets terms for long-term bank loans