QE Taper Talk and the Stock Market

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Investors next week will be waiting for one key piece of info from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting: Will the QE taper begin?

It's been exactly one year since the Fed announced QE3 – also dubbed QE Infinity, with no clear idea of an end date given at the onset. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 14.9% in that time, and the S&P 500 is up 17.25%. Since the first round of this last series of quantitative easing started in December 2008, the indexes are up about 73% and 92%, respectively. The fear now is that if the Fed stops buying and rates begin to move higher in the months ahead, money will leave the market as quickly as it piled in and cause a prolonged selloff that drives down share prices.

Fed officials have been dropping broad hints that tapering is coming sooner rather than later.

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