Ben Bernanke

The Fed took bold steps to boost the economy. Will undoing one of them rattle markets?

The Fed took bold steps to boost the economy. Will undoing one of them rattle markets?

Federal Reserve officials took bold steps to battle the financial crisis and the Great Recession, none more audacious than purchasing trillions of dollars in bonds in an unprecedented and politically charged attempt to boost economic growth.

Now, with the economy healthier — and mixed opinions about how much the bond purchases actually helped — the Fed is preparing to scale back its massive stock of about $4.5 trillion in assets.

Those holdings of mostly Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities are more than quadruple what they were before the crisis, and reducing them is another risky move that could affect mortgage rates, consumer prices, bank lending, stock values...

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