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Column: Bernanke's dangerous optimism

By James Saft (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is an optimist about economic growth in the coming decades, rejecting "depressing" views about a slowdown to put his faith in collaborative innovation driven by a jackpot culture for inventors. For his mental health, let's hope he believes it. For our economic wellbeing, let's hope he doesn't act on it.

Bernanke: US economy 'still far' from desired state

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday that the US economy still has far to go to recover to an acceptable state of health. "Today the economy is significantly stronger than it was four years ago, although conditions are clearly still far from where we would all like them to be," he said. The statement, made in a speech on banking in Stone Mountain, Georgia, came as economists and investors seek signs on whether the US central bank is ready to tighten up its easy-money policy aimed at holding long-term interest rates down.

U.S. Fed holds firm to stimulus plan despite brighter economy

By Pedro da Costa and Jonathan Spicer WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve on Wednesday pressed forward with its aggressive policy stimulus despite improvements in the U.S. economy, pointing to still-high unemployment, fiscal headwinds out of Washington and risks from abroad. Meeting as turmoil in Europe took another turn for the worse, the U.S. central bank appeared unfazed by concerns that its $85 billion (56.2 billion pounds) in monthly bond purchases could disrupt financial markets or inflate asset bubbles.

King says sees case for more QE to help recovery

LONDON (Reuters) - Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said there was still a case for the central bank to do more to help Britain's economy by buying more assets, despite some signs of recovery, a television station reported on Friday. "I don't think you should exaggerate the degree of optimism. What I see are signs of a recovery, and I think there is a case for supporting that through additional asset purchases," King told ITV television news.

Britain's FTSE edges higher as Italy doubts dampen volumes

* FTSE 100 up 0.2 percent after Tuesday's rout * Banks gain on Fed stimulus prospects * Low volumes underscore continued caution By Toni Vorobyova LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index edged higher on Wednesday, with some investors using the previous day's steep fall to enter the market at cheaper levels, reassured by prospects of continued U.S. central bank stimulus.

Bernanke testimony boosts Britain's FTSE

* FTSE 100 gains 0.3 percent * Banks biggest support as QE affirmed in U.S. and UK * Italian parties seek to end impasse, eyes on bond auction * Vodafone a heavyweight gainer as Kabel deal put on hold By Alistair Smout LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index rose in early trade on Wednesday, rebounding from steep losses in the last session after the U.S. Federal Reserve's chairman defended stimulus programmes for the world's biggest economy.

Tokyo stocks open up 0.17%

Tokyo stocks opened 0.17 percent higher on Wednesday after US shares rose on Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke's comments that the central bank's stimulus policies would remain in effect. The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 19.75 points at 11,418.56 at the start. "The near-term floor for stock prices looks fairly firm at this point, while encouraging US economic and policy news flows remain supportive," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

WRAPUP 6-Bernanke says Fed stimulus benefits clear, downplays risks

* Fed cognizant of bond-buying risks, but benefits outweigh * Bernanke warns on impact of scheduled budget cuts * Bernanke's defense of stimulus helps support stock markets By Pedro da Costa and Alister Bull WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke strongly defended the U.S. central bank's monetary stimulus before Congress on Tuesday, easing financial market worries over a possible early retreat from bond purchases.
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