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    I wasn't the least bit surprised by the Fed's move Wednesday to stand pat on interest rates.

    As I noted on CNBC's "Closing Bell," talking is just about the only policy tool still available to Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

    That's because the world's other central banks are doing her dirty work for her.

    This isn't a popular concept amongst those who like to believe the Fed is in control, but it's all too real. The People's Bank of China unpegged the yuan last August. Then the Bank of Japan introduced negative interest rates in January. And, last week the European Central Bank unleashed Super Mario Draghi's monetary bazooka - all of which make it impossible for Yellen to raise rates at the moment.

    Speaking of which, traders breathed a sigh of relief based on the fact that Yellen may be taking rate hikes off the table for now, lending credence to the thought this morning that the Fed may finally be stepping out of the way.

    Don't bet on it.

    What happened Wednesday is another very deliberate move in a long string of moves that's designed with one intention and one intention only - to manipulate markets.

    Not that that's new news - but here's what is.

    In the Money Map Report, we've talked many times about how and why there are singular inputs that move markets during specific points in our economic history. I raised a lot of eyebrows when I said that the Fed accounted for 85% of all market action since 2008, but it turns out I may have been too conservative!

    The real figure may be at least 93%.

    And that means you've got to change your stock selection methods if you want to make sure you profitably capture what's next...

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N.Y. Fed Hacked for $81 Million in Modern Day "Wild West" Bank Heist

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The N.Y. Fed - hacked by cyber-criminals on Feb. 5 - had $101 million in Bangladesh Bank funds stolen from it by alleged Chinese hackers.

And the finger-wagging has already begun.

Here's a look at who made the biggest mistake in one of the largest Internet heists in recent history...

The World Can No Longer Ignore These Threats

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As the world reels from the barbarous, but all too predictable, terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening, markets will also be trying to regain their balance after a difficult week. What the Paris attacks have in common with last week's market losses is that they both disabused observers of the illusions that they can continue ignoring the consequences of political and policy weakness.

Continue reading...

The Fed Just Handed Us This Easy Chance for a Quick Double

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The chances of an actual interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve just got real - and asset prices are on the move...

Team Yellen got a big reason to raise rates with Friday's release of the October U.S. employment numbers. The report surpassed most estimates by adding 271,000 jobs; the consensus was for about 100,000 fewer than that.

This puts the unemployment rate at 5% - its lowest level since 2008. Markets immediately reacted with lower bond prices, lower commodity prices, and in many cases, lower stock prices. 

The Fed could announce a rate hike at the end of its next policy meeting on Dec. 16. That would be especially good news for a certain U.S. industry I'll talk about today. 

One particular stock in this sector climbed 65% in a little over two years after rates rose. But now you have the chance to make more - and in less time. The easy options play I outline here could double your money in just weeks...

Bank Stress Tests Prove the Worst History Repeats Itself

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Two out of 31 big banks failed the Fed's bank stress tests. One was Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE: DB), and the other was Santander Holdings USA Inc (NYSE: SOV-C).

But Santander's biggest U.S. unit manage to sell a boatload of subprime auto loans - worth $712 million.

Here's why this bond deal matters - and how it proves that the worst history always repeats itself...

The Truth Behind Central Banks' Machinations

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Central bankers disguise themselves as friendly shepherds. But really it's more of a "wolf guarding the henhouse" situation...

You see, we've been experiencing deflation, not inflation...on a global scale. Why aren't prices rising? Why aren't wages rising? Why is global demand so lackluster?

Well, the answer has to do with central bankers' and how they treat your money...

What Markets Are Doing After Today's FOMC Meeting Minutes Release

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The three major indexes all dropped in unison shortly after the release of the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's July Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, reflecting Fed sentiment that accommodative monetary policy could end sooner than expected if improvements continue in the labor market.

While the Fed made no remarks on an explicit timetable for interest rate hikes, which is what the markets are observing attentively, the minutes did indicate that the situation in the labor market was looking healthier and improving quicker than expected.

Here's what the Fed's agenda will be for the rest of the year...

This Has Been Making Investors Rich for 140 Years

People are viewing the end of stimulus as a sunset. "My, what a wonderful day we've had," they say.

What they should be doing is investing for tomorrow's dawn - the turmoil we're seeing now as part of Yellen's arrival is actually par for the course.

It's also a great time to lock your sights on four companies that will lead the way when the smoke clears... Full Story

FOMC Meeting Today: How the Taper Is Affecting Markets

Ben Bernanke Speaks At The National Press Club

The Federal Reserve went forward with its taper plans yesterday, announcing it would reduce its bond-buying by $10 billion per month. But that is no guarantee the Fed will continue to taper, especially if the economy falters. And now that the Fed has a new chief in Janet Yellen,

we could be in for some surprises this year...

All Things Fed: Keith Fitz-Gerald on Janet Yellen and Today's FOMC Meeting

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Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald appeared on FOX Business' "Varney & Co." today to discuss this week's FOMC meeting and Janet Yellen.

On Monday, Larry Summers announced he is dropping out of the candidate list to replace Ben Bernanke and become the next Fed chief. Next in line for new Fed chief role is Janet Yellen.

To continue reading, please click here...

How the Fed QE Taper Will Affect Foreign Markets

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Hints from the U.S. Federal Reserve this week that the quantitative easing taper is near ruffled feathers on Wall Street last week - but the idea of less Fed stimulus has caused much more turmoil in certain overseas markets. Here are the places getting hit the hardest.
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The Next Fed Chief Will Be the Most Powerful of All Time

Crown Q The U.S. Congress established three core objectives for monetary policy in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913: maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.

But in addition to acting as steward of the economy, the Fed's role has expanded over the years.

The Great Recession, a need for corporate bailouts, and concerns over the Fed's secrecy brought about recent changes to its institutional identity.

Certainly we've had a renewed focus on the Fed's responsibility as a regulator.

People wanted to see - needed to see - a Fed that operates no longer as a creature of the banks, but as a watchdog instead.

Emblematically, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act were signed into law in July 2010.

With it, Dodd-Frank brought the most substantial changes to financial regulation since the aftermath of the Great Depression. Particularly, a greater breadth of regulatory power was given to the Fed.

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You can Figure out When the Fed Might Start Tapering

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Although you might think the markets simply respond any time Ben Bernanke sneezes, his "cold cycle" is not one of the indicators that will spell the slowing

and eventual cessation of the printing press at the Fed.

There actually is a mathematical formula used by the Federal Reserve to determine when to stop the presses.

I could give you the formula and it would look like this:

POP2 = [1-(%POP) m*m] *POP1.

Or, I could share the link to the Federal Reserve's Jobs Calculator in Atlanta.

This is the same calculator used by the Fed to determine when the jobs market and the unemployment rate will align properly. And when they do, it will signal to the Federal Reserve that it might be a good time to start tapering its $85 billion a month bond buying program.

This is what needs to happen: The economy will have to show new job growth.

The Fed is looking for the creation of 150,000 to 200,000 new jobs each month for 6 months. This is how we look now:

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Keith Fitz-Gerald: What Ben Bernanke is Doing to the Markets

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Do We Really Need the Federal Reserve System?

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Abolishing the Federal Reserve System might seem like a drastic idea, but not when you get the full story...

You see, Congress created the U.S. Federal Reserve System to restore public confidence, provide the banking system a source of liquidity that would prevent its collapse and protect the public against inflation.

A century later, the banking system is so big its risks dwarf the Fed's liquidity capacity, and what cost a buck back then now will set you back $21.

That's why we asked Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald to explain how the Federal Reserve System actually helps a country's economy.

Most importantly, we wanted to know if the United States - or any country - even needs the Fed anymore.

Just listen to Fitz-Gerald's answer in the following interview.

7 Reasons Not to Trust the Bernanke Testimony to Congress

Lie. Pinocchio with a long nose.

As usual, the markets were hanging on every word of the Bernanke testimony to Congress today (Wednesday).

By now, everyone should know better.

In the years that U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been a member of the Fed - both as a member of the Board of Governors from 2002 to 2005, and in his two terms as chairman beginning in 2006 - he has been stupendously wrong time and time again.

Bernanke gave the markets what they wanted by hinting that his monetary easing policies won't change any time soon, pushing both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index up more than 0.5% in midday trading.

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