The Dow Jones Industrial Average came back from the depths today, climbing above 8,000 for the first time since Feb. 10 before pulling back slightly. The move was a reaction to the announcement of relaxed accounting rules for companies struggling to value depressed assets, as well as the news that G-20 leaders have agreed on an unprecedented plan for economic recovery and reform.
The day's biggest winners were the much-battered financial stocks, which led a rally on Wall Street after the Financial Accounting Standards Board voted in changes under the "mark-to-market" or "fair value" accounting rules.
Today's announcement sent the Dow up more than 200 points; Dow components DuPont
The changes, put in motion by the board that sets U.S. accounting standards, will allow companies more flexibility when valuing assets and reporting losses, rather than forcing them to follow the current market rate -- which is, to say the very least, distressed.
Confused by it all?
Essentially, this means values will be higher. The new guidelines allow banks like Citigroup
Good news? It depends on who you ask. Some industry observers say the wiggle room for banks could undermine financial bailout programs. While banks would certainly enjoy being able to increase the value of their assets, those values could drive away private investors who don't want to pay a dollar more than they have to. Would you?
You can thank world leaders at the G-20 Summit for much of today's crazy volatility. Working to end a global economic crisis, leaders of the world's largest countries banded together, pledging an additional $1.1 trillion in financing to the International Monetary Fund and other global institutions, The Associated Press reported.
"For the first time we have a common approach to cleaning up banks around the world to restructure the world financial system," said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who characterized the deal as "unprecedented." "This is a collective action of people around the world working at their best."
We could use some "best" right about now.
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Fool contributor Leef Smith Barnes does not own shares of any companies mentioned. Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation and an Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.