Big Wall Street investment companies are pulling back slightly on their borrowing from the Federal Reserve's emergency lending program.
A central bank report Thursday said that they averaged $32.6 billion in daily borrowing over the last week. That compares with $38.1 billion in the previous week and $32.9 billion before that.
"Conditions in this particular part of the financial markets are easing up somewhat," said T.J. Marta, a fixed-income strategist at RBC Capital Markets who viewed the pullback as a positive sign.
The program, which began March 17, is part of the Fed's effort to aid a financial system whose problems threaten the nation's economic health.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues started the program as policymakers raced to deal with the sudden crash of the venerable Bear Stearns Cos., which was on the brink of bankruptcy.
Also Thursday, the Fed auctioned an additional $33.95 billion in super-safe Treasury securities to investment firms. That was less than the $50 billion worth of securities the central bank had made available.
The results of the auction -- the third of its kind -- suggest that demand for the Treasury securities may be easing.