the paranoid were right

White House mulls nationalizing banks

News that the Bush administration is considering taking part ownership in a number of U.S. banks helped restore a relative calm over global financial markets Thursday.

The aim of such a move would be to thaw the lending freeze that threatens to push the world’s economy into recession. It comes after rampant fear about the global economy sent investors scurrying on Tuesday for safety in U.S. government securities despite an orchestrated round of rate cuts by the world’s central banks.

Investors also were hoping that selling, which gave the Dow its sixth straight day of losses, was overdone. Wall Street began the day higher, but then slid after declines in some blue chip names like General Motors Corp. weighed on the markets.

[…]

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut its target for the benchmark rate on overnight loans between banks to 1.5 percent. The cut from 2 percent took the rate to its lowest level in more than four years.

In an unprecedented coordinated move, central banks in England, China, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland and the European Central Bank also cut rates after a series of high-stakes phone calls over several days between Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his counterparts.

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