Recent actions, most notably promises by the European Central Bank to begin buying government bonds in unlimited amounts, were “clearly a turning point,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said this week. “I can’t say enough about how good the [ECB] decision was in the view of stabilizing markets.”

After pressuring Europe since early 2010 to take many of the steps eventually enacted, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said at a forum in New York on Tuesday that the situation now “looks a little better than it did,” with measures in place to finance troubled governments as they work to revive their economies.

Analysts and investors have begun to temper their concerns about short-term calamity. The money pushing up Spanish and other European stock indexes and bolstering the value of beleaguered bank shares is another positive sign.