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By Jason Stipp and Jeremy Glaser | 05-23-2013 03:00 PM

The Friday Five

Five stats from the market and the stories behind them. This week: $3 trillion in stimulus (but how much more?), a $1 billion question mark at Yahoo, more.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar, and welcome to The Friday Five: five stats from the market and the stories behind them.

Joining me as always with The Friday Five is Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for being here.

Jeremy Glaser: You're welcome, Jason.

Stipp: What do you have for The Friday Five this week?

Glaser: The numbers we're going to look at: $3 trillion, 7, 68%, $1.1 billion, and one.

Stipp: $3 trillion refers to the amount of the bonds that the Fed has bought since the beginning of the crisis. There were worries about the continuation of that buying after Fed testimony this week.

Glaser: We had a good amount of Fed news. Bernanke testified in front of Congress on Wednesday, and also the release of the Fed minutes, which is a summary of what the FOMC was talking about before they set the most recent policy statement.

And from both of them there seemed to be some discussion of when are they going to stop buying more bonds. [There was] not a lot of discussion of when they were going to start selling some of those bonds, reducing the size of their balance sheet, but there does seem some possibility that as early as the June meeting, the Fed could decide to end QE3 or to taper it a little bit. And the market was a worried about that, and worried that this could mean that we're about to see the start of what could be a very long tightening of monetary policy.

I think that is a worry that might be a little bit premature. Definitely, Bernanke in his testimony said that they were looking to potentially taper. There are members of FOMC who are ready to start doing that. But the vast majority of the members are still very much looking at a very accommodative policy, and chances are any moves are going to be very, very gradual and are going to be tested against the economic data. If they pull pack on the purchase a little bit, and the economy kind of falls off a cliff, they're going to get right back and start making purchases again.

Remember, we're at QE3 now; that means we had QE1 that stopped, and then the Fed started up again with Q2 and stopped, and then started up again with this "QE Infinity" that was more open-ended, and that was because they realized that they hadn't done enough yet and they were willing to jump back in there. And I don't think there is any reason they wouldn't be willing to jump back in if the most recent tapering turns out to have some very detrimental effects.

Even if Bernanke leaves the chairmanship, which is certainly a possibility--he has been looking and talking a bit about potentially leaving and getting back into private life--I think any of his plausible successors, including Janet Yallen, who is currently head of the San Francisco Fed, would continue with these policies. I think we'll see some continuity there. It's just not something to be super-worried about at the moment. There is going to be tightening eventually, but the Fed seems committed to only doing it when the economy is ready to accept it.

Stipp: Seven is the number of months that we've gone without seeing contraction in the Chinese manufacturing sector, but we did see it again this week when the data came out. There is still global risk out there.

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