Fed May Be ‘Central Bank of the World’


Markets Await European Central Bank News Conference (CNBC via Reuters) "The European Central Bank kept interest rates on hold on Thursday at a policy meeting expected to see it keep unlimited liquidity operations in place for longer as the euro zone debt crisis rages unabated. But the ECB is unlikely to announce mass new bond purchases at a 1330 GMT news conference, despite growing speculation that it could rush through new anti-crisis measures, including government bond buying on a much larger scale."

Fed May Be ‘Central Bank of the World’ (Business Week via Bloomberg) As analysis of Fed data begins to trickle in, the global ramifications of the Fed's policy actions during the height of the 2008 crisis have been called into question. Particularly the assistance granted to non-U.S. financial institutions: "Federal Reserve data showing UBS AG and Barclays Plc ranked among the top users of $3.3 trillion from emergency programs is stoking debate on whether U.S. regulators bear responsibility for aiding other nations’ banks. UBS was the biggest borrower under the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, with $74.5 billion overall, more than twice as much as Citigroup Inc., the top U.S. bank recipient, according to the data released yesterday.

London-based Barclays Plc took the biggest single amount under another program that made overnight loans, when it got $47.9 billion on Sept. 18, 2008."

Budget Director Orszag Headed to Citi? (Bloomberg) "Orszag, 41, may take a job in the New York-based firm’s investment-banking division, the people said, declining to be identified because the discussions are private. An announcement may come as early as today, one of the people said. Orszag, an economist trained at Princeton University and the London School of Economics, helped shape U.S. economic stimulus during the financial crisis and overhaul the health- care system. The youngest member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, he spent 18 months as White House budget director, stepping down in July."

"World stocks, euro up on hopes of ECB action" (Yahoo via AP) "World stock markets and the euro climbed Thursday on hopes the European Central Bank will boost its efforts to support the 16-nation eurozone economy, which has been rocked by fears the debt crisis will force new bailouts. Improved signs of recovery out of the U.S. had jump-started the advance late the day before on Wall Street and with so much hanging on the ECB's statements, investors rode the momentum."

Here are the numbers: "Germany's DAX was up 0.4 percent at 6,895.04 and Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.7 percent to 5,682.49. France's CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent to 3,696.09."

U.S. Equities Rise on ECB Speculation as Well (Bloomberg) "U.S. stock-index futures rose, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index may add to its biggest rally in three months, amid speculation European policy makers will announce measures to stem the region’s debt crisis. Verizon Communications Inc. and Caterpillar Inc. helped lead gains in Dow Jones Industrial Average companies in early trading.

Toll Brothers Inc. climbed 3.5 percent after the largest U.S. luxury-home builder posted a fourth-quarter profit. Limited Brands Inc., owner of the Victoria’s Secret chain, gained 3.2 percent after reporting sales that beat estimates. "