Late last night, world financial markets looked like toast; Asian markets were in free fall for a while and European stocks were sharply down at the open. (London is closed today for what the British call a Bank Holiday.) Falling futures prices in the US made it look as if we, too, were going to face a grim slide.But as the hours dragged on, and markets reflected, the sense of panic seemed to fade. After all, the victory of the French socialist candidate François Hollande had been long expected. And if the Greek voters proved slightly more obstreperous than expected, does that really change the situation that much? Nobody much thinks that any Greek government, much less a weak coalition formed by two loathed and discredited parties, had much chance of enacting the reforms Greece would need to change its outlook.More, the world’s central bankers haven’t converted to tight money overnight. The Japanese, the Fed and the ECB are not going to let the banks fail or let the world’s liquidity dry up. If markets are stressed by distressing election returns, the central banks, like good barkeepers, will simply pour another round.And then there’s the reality that Hollande will press Germany for a more open handed approach to debtor European countries. Nobody thinks he can convert Germans into free spending Keynesians, but he will probably get something and, on balance, in the short run at least a little less austerity might be bullish rather than bearish.That’s what they were thinking in France, Spain and Italy this morning; stock markets in those countries have actually gone up.None of Europe’s big problems have been fixed. The Greek mess is both uglier and more urgent than it was a week ago. The impasse between Mediterranean and Baltic ideas about currency management remains; northern Europeans want hard money, and southern Europeans think the girdle is much too tight. Europe’s elites want to lead where Europe’s peoples don’t really want to go.All this spells more trouble down the road, but it did not make for a panic today — and for that lucky break, we give thanks.