World leaders drew praise on Friday not so much for the boldness of their $1.1 trillion package to help revive the global economy as for at least not making the crisis worse by failing to agree.
U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the G20 summit in London on Thursday as a turning point, the meeting coinciding with shreds of data in the United States, Europe and China which suggested the worst crisis since the 1930s may have hit bottom.
Markets generally reacted favorably to the summit's outcomes, although a test of that optimism will come later on Friday when U.S. unemployment data for March is released hard on the heels of other jobs figures pointing to a worsening employment market globally.
The yen fell against higher-yielding currencies like the kiwi and hit a 6-month low against the Australian dollar, analysts seeing support there and in emerging markets because of G20 moves to beef up the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The euro and dollar were steadier against the yen, the dollar up slightly at 99.65 after earlier nudging above the psychologically important 100 yen level.
Asian stocks rose for a fourth straight day as perceptions of a coordinated global policy response grew after the G20 summit.
Asia's rise came after Wall Street and European shares firmed after the G20 meeting broke up. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 2.8 percent.
The lack of any real negative fallout from the G20 meeting followed a smattering of positive news this week.
U.S. factory orders rose in February for the first time in seven months, bolstering hopes that a recession in the world's largest economy may have reached a bottom.
A rebound in China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) in March showed that the Chinese economy also may have bottomed out.
The G20 leaders said the measures agreed to would raise world output by 4 percent by the end of 2010, although they were hazy on the amount of stimulus spending to date, with estimates ranging between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.
They agreed to triple the IMF's resources to $750 billion and to a package worth $250 billion over two years to support global trade flows, which are forecast to fall 9 percent this year.
The leaders of the world's richest and biggest economies, which account for more than 80 percent of world trade, also agreed to tighten rules on tax havens, hedge funds and credit rating agencies.
Markets took the big headline $1.1 trillion figure in their stride but were perhaps cheered more by the fact there was no dramatic outcomes after harsh words on the eve of the summit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
A split had threatened to emerge between Washington, which wants more money pumped into economies to stimulate a return to growth, and France and Germany who favor tighter regulations of the financial industry.
We expected a lot of discord between the U.S. and U.K. and France and Germany, with China poking its nose in as well, but they seem to come out of the event as one connected group, seemingly on the same page, said Dwyfor Evans, currency strategist with State Street Global Markets in Hong Kong.
It implies that there is policy coordination and not policy discord, he said.
Some reaction to the G20 outcome was more skeptical.
For now at least the trillions of unmovable, over-valued and mismarked loans that continue to sit on the balance sheets of the world's banks are forgotten. It's amazing what a winning smile and some collective handshakes can do, said Sean Keane, managing director of Triple T Consulting in New Zealand and a former Credit Suisse strategist.
The generally positive G20 tone came as a U.S. accounting standards board decided to allow banks more flexibility in how they value the toxic assets that forced billions of dollars in write-downs.
The changes, to take effect in the second quarter, could reduce writedowns and soften the blow to bank earnings.
The G20 reaction also helped mask disappointment at the decision by the European Central Bank to cut its main financing rate by half the expected 50 basis points, to 1.25 percent. Investors shrugged off their disappointment, some betting more cuts were on the way.
But there has also been plenty of bleak news quantifying the human cost of the global crisis.
On Thursday, data showed the number of U.S. workers claiming jobless benefits was at its highest level in 26 years.
The number of jobless seeking assistance also rose sharply in Spain in March and euro zone unemployment jumped to 8.5 percent in February.
The U.S. March unemployment data is expected to show that the economy shed 650,000 nonfarm jobs in March and that the unemployment rate climbed to 8.5 percent, which would be the highest level since 1983.
(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren and Lesley Wroughton in London, Toni Clarke in Boston, and Reuters bureaux around the world; Writing by Paul Tait; Editing by Neil Fullick)