The latest interventions by policymakers produced more positive effects on markets yesterday. Bloomberg reports:
U.S. stocks rallied the most in six years on prospects the government will formulate a "permanent" plan to shore up financial markets, while regulators and pension funds took steps to curb bets against banks and brokerages.
Traders erupted into cheers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 617 points from its low of the day after Senator Charles Schumer proposed a new agency to pump capital into financial companies. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 4.3 percent as 68 companies in the gauge rose more than 10 percent.
Earlier, there had been coordination by central banks to improve liquidity in credit markets. From Bloomberg:
The Federal Reserve almost quadrupled the amount of dollars central banks can auction around the world to $247 billion in a coordinated bid to ease the worst crisis facing financial markets since the aftermath of the 1929 Wall Street crash.
The Fed increased the amount of dollars that the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other counterparts can offer from $67 billion "to address the continued elevated pressures in U.S. dollar short-term funding markets." The Bank of England, the Bank of Canada and the Swiss National Bank also participated. Several of them lent funds in their own currencies as well with the Fed adding a record $105 billion in temporary reserves.
Still, the prospects for the US economy remains poor. Again from Bloomberg yesterday:
The U.S. economy was heading for a deeper slowdown than forecast even before this month's collapse in financial markets, a gauge of its future performance showed.
The Conference Board's index of leading indicators, which points to the direction of the economy over the next three to six months, fell 0.5 percent [in August]...
The leading-indicator index fell at a 2.1 percent annual pace over the past six months. A decline of around 4 percent to 4.5 percent at an annual pace is one signal a recession is imminent, according to the Conference Board. The gauge met that requirement in January, when it dropped at a 4.7 percent pace...
The index of coincident indicators, a gauge of current economic activity, fell 0.1 percent after no change in July.
Other indicators though continue to give conflicting signals.
A separate report today showed manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly expanded in September. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's general economic index increased to 3.8 this month from minus 12.7 in August. Positive readings signal growth...
The Labor Department reported initial jobless claims last week rose 10,000 to 455,000, led by a jump in Louisiana reflecting job losses in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. While the Labor Department said claims would have fallen excluding the state, the overall trend in applications still points to deterioration in the labor market, economists said.