Thursday, September 18, 2008

China to purchase stocks, 'backstop' market

Two from MarketWatch:
China unveiled a number of initiatives late Thursday to shore up its ailing stock market and bolster investor confidence.
The government said a unit of its sovereign wealth fund will purchase shares in three of it largest banks, according state-run Xinhua News. State-owned enterprises will also be encouraged to buy back their own shares, and the current levy on stock purchases will be eliminated....MORE
U.S. and China approach downturns differently
The U.S. Treasury bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac attracted an enormous amount of vitriolic commentary on Chinese Internet chat rooms.
The vitriol was not aimed at American policymakers, mind you, but rather at China's leaders. Investors were seen bitterly asking: How is it that the world's biggest capitalist state is willing to step in to stabilize the markets, while our Socialist leaders stand by as citizens suffer?

Suffer, indeed. China's domestic A-share market has fallen some 65% since its October peak, compared to a 25% fall in the Dow Jones since the sub-prime crisis began just over a year ago. U.S. stocks are still in shambles -- high volatility, low volumes -- but no one can say that policy has not been active: the Fed has slashed interest rates, provided the financial sector with easier access to short-term capital and brokered the rescue of Bear Stearns; meanwhile the government passed out billions in tax rebates as part of a stimulus package. And now, of course, the Treasury is stepping in to rescue the two major mortgage financiers...MORE

Which brings to mind Jim Rogers comment (via CNBC): US Is "More Communist than China"