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Thomas Mayer -- Why the Fed is spinning in circles

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Fed Chair Janet Yellen is shown on a TV above a trader at the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell on June 15.   © Reuters

Once upon a time, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board was called "The Maestro" because he ruled financial markets. Market participants loved him because he gave them direction and rushed to protect them whenever prices declined. No longer. Today, many market participants see the Fed as a source of confusion. Why? Because the central bank itself seems very confused.

How could this happen?

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