The stock market is trading within 2% of its all-time peak reached at the beginning of April. And following an impressive bull market that recently entered its sixth year, it seems that the trauma that was the financial crisis is becoming a distant memory. Of course, the stock market did not achieve its miraculous recovery all on its own. Instead, it had the generous and ongoing support of the U.S. Federal Reserve for much of the journey to recovery through its daily asset purchases as part of its various quantitative easing (QE) stimulus programs. With all of this in mind, the experience of the last few years raises a worthwhile question to ponder. Exactly what would the markets have looked like without QE? Exploring the answer to this question is particularly worthwhile, as it provides important insights into what to expect from the stock market once the Fed ends its latest QE3 stimulus program in the coming months. More significantly, it may provide important insights into how exactly the current bull market may finally come to an end.
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