The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank are today announcing coordinated actions to enhance their capacity to provide liquidity support to the global financial system. The purpose of these actions is to ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity. – Federal Reserve (links above added)
The Dow gained 490 points or 4.2% after the collective central banks’ action. It’s the largest gain since the spring of 2009.
Unsurprisingly, presidential hopeful Ron Paul wasn’t impressed:
“They must really be worried to get together like this, but it can’t be good in the long run,” Paul said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street Wednesday. “All they are doing is a form of worldwide quantitative easing.”
Felix Salmon: “Think of it as a holiday greetings card from the banks to the market.”
The central banks’ coordinated market intervention gave investors hope that world leaders could take necessary steps to avoid a credit crunch or market paralysis stemming from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. “It’s the first time we’ve seen this type of global coordination since November 2008,” said Michael James, a senior equity trader at Wedbush Morgan. “The degree of coordination sends a message to the markets that global leaders are going to do whatever they need to do to instill confidence in the markets.”
The open question is whether this increases confidence enough to get major European countries through critical bond auctions, not just this week, but most important, a series of major refundings Italy has in February.
Anyone betting on that one?
And just for fun, Freakonomics asks whether the euro can be saved. Buckle up before reading.
ADP also reported that 260,000 private-sector jobs were added in November, though we’ll hear more on unemployment numbers Friday.