Welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone crisis. Mario Draghi has unveiled the ECB’s bond-buying scheme. By Tom Burgis, Ben Fenton, John Aglionby and Ruona Agbroko on the newsdesk in London and Anjli Raval in New York with contributions by FT correspondents around the world. All times are BST.
21.40 As we close up today’s blog, here is a last US markets round-up from Arash Massoudi in New York:
What a day for equities on Wall Street. US stocks jumped to their highest closing level since January 2008 as investors piled into risk assets.
The benchmark S&P 500 rose 2.04 per cent to finish at 1,432.12. All ten broad sector groups on the index moved more than 1 per cent higher. Financials were among the day’s top performers with bulge bracket banks enjoying hefty gains. Bank of America rose 5 per cent to $8.35, Citigroup climbed 4.5 per cent to $31.12 and JPMorgan Chase gained 4.3 per cent to $38.69. Broadly, the S&P 500 is up 13.9 per cent since the start of the year.
The Nasdaq closed at its highest level since December 2000.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a fairly critical piece about Mitt Romney’s foreign policy stance. In my column I suggested that Romney’s rhetoric was reminiscent of George W. Bush. But now Romney has made a move that is more reminiscent of George H.W. Bush, which is much more encouraging.
That move is the appointment of Robert Zoellick as the head of Romney’s national-security transition team. This is taken as a strong hint that Zoellick might be Secretary of State in a Romney administration – and he will certainly have a major influence on the senior appointments. Read more
The debate around US corporation tax and offshoring points to American political dysfunction, says Alan Beattie. Read more
An extra note on outsourcing following my
spittle-flecked rant carefully argued polemic in the paper today. As Paul Krugman accurately enough points out, Mr Romney himself falls for the silliness of extrapolating from a company to an economy (as, I would contend, does Mr Obama).
There are some ways where I guess having run a company does give you some insight into national economic policy – the impact of business regulations, for example. But since Mr Romney’s main complaint seems to be about the onerous burden of the Obama healthcare plan and since he was in favour of the individual mandate before he was against it, he’s going to have difficulty with that one. Read more
We’ve got some gripping reads for you today, from our own pages and elsewhere: Read more
The US and China: Prospects of the world’s largest economies
The eurozone has dominated headlines for months, but what of the other key poles of the world economy, China and the United States? Growth has been slowing in China for months, and the US is also struggling. James Politi in Washington and Jamil Anderlini in Beijing join Gideon Rachman to discuss the prospects of the world’s two largest economies. Read more
Another salvo in the exchange of trade artillery, as the US takes China to the WTO again, this time over Chinese anti-dumping duties on American SUVs. The place and timing of the announcement is obviously political – how awful and cynical, how do these politicians live with themselves – but so what? No surprise or indeed change there.
More interesting is that this signifies (if you are an optimist) that the WTO is doing its job of directing the torrents of protectionist passion down the canals of moderation*, or (for the pessimists) that the WTO’s dispute settlement process is getting clogged up with the consequences of misguided mercantilism.
The US is basically trying to restrain retaliation against one of its own protectionist actions – the ”safeguard” blocks it imposed on imports of Chinese tyres in the fall of 2009. Those also had political intent (possibly more justified, according to my unusually balanced view at the time) but which were also entirely legal. Read more
Those worrying about the US being in hock to the rest of the world have fresh reasons for alarm: the US net international investment position (what Americans owe foreigners minus vice versa) last year worsened by about a trillion and a half dollars to a nice round $4tn deficit.
Alarm and despondency! America going bust! Ravening wolves on the streets of Manhattan! Read more