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File photo of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. (JASON REED/Jason Reed/Reuters)
File photo of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. (JASON REED/Jason Reed/Reuters)

As the easy money ends, an uncharted road lies ahead Add to ...

For the past eight months, the world's stock and commodity markets have gone on a tear, thanks to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

Through its program of quantitative easing, the Fed has pumped nearly $600-billion (U.S.) of fresh cash into the U.S. financial system. As is typical when lots of extra money sloshes around markets, happy results have followed - most notably, soaring prices for nearly everything, from gold, which this week reached a record $1,500 an ounce, to stocks, which are nearing some of their highest levels since the 2008 financial panic.

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