Markets soar after Fed boss sees 'green shoots' of recovery

Public figures in the US don't have their tongues cut out for saying they've seen "green shoots" of economic recovery. After Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, uttered the phrase on television on Sunday night, stock markets soared.

The trick is confidence. President Barack Obama and his lieutenants spent their first weeks in office saying how gloomy everything was. That laid the blame with George Bush, but it added to the sense of fear that has paralysed business.

On CBS's 60 Minutes, Mr Bernanke was taken to Dillon, South Carolina, where he grew up. The last owners of his childhood home were foreclosed; his father's old drugstore would be unable to get a loan. I am bailing out Wall Street for one reason only, he said: to help towns like this. The "green shoots" he mentioned refer to the easing of pressure in the credit markets. Only if confidence holds will they start to poke through in places like Dillon.