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Premarket: Stocks head for sharp gains Add to ...

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North American stock markets are set to open sharply higher, as investors bet that recent worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon taper bond purchases prompted a premature pullback in equity values. 

The two-day FOMC meeting will wrap up on Wednesday with a news conference from Chairman Ben Bernanke, in what will likely be the most important market event of the week. Mr Bernanke may very well continue to caution that he'll ease back on the unprecedented bond-buying program at some point. But the conditions he places on it will be key - and he'll likely emphasize that it'll be contingent on how future economic data come in. That should mean the tapering of bond purchases is not imminent.

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