When the Fed finally steps back, can the U.S. stock and bond markets stand on their own legs?

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Financial markets have staged a dramatic turnaround in the roughly 18 months since global central banks sent in the cavalry, with U.S. stocks climbing to dizzying heights and corporations raking in record profit.

The big question heading into this fall is whether markets can stand on their own legs once the Federal Reserve starts to pull back its pandemic firepower.

For its part, the European Central Bank this week announced plans to recall some of its pandemic monetary support for financial markets, raising expectations for the Fed to soon follow in its footsteps.

While ECB President Christine Lagarde said the pullback didn’t amount to a “tapering,” but was instead a mere recalibration of stimulus efforts, the decision was still viewed as a significant step.

Read: ‘The lady isn’t tapering,’ says Lagarde as ECB slows asset purchases

When the pandemic struck the global economy in 2020 central banks embarked on large-scale asset…

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